MEAL PREP: “You Can’t Fix Stupid”


Chow Bella posted the following in the comments section in response to a comment left by Karen (Who, incidentally, has pointed out that I am no Einstein and asserts that the MAK is BOOMING in her town). Every meal assembly franchisor has been begging me to divulge her IP address.

While Chow rambles a bit (cooking sherry again?), she makes some excellent points about the lack of experience of the MAK cloud merchants:

Karen your point is well taken about folks developing and franchising this failed concept with no food experience- with that in mind, let me quote from an article from the SpokemansReview.com; that I found on Cena’s own website-
Titled “Ingredients for Success” about Cena To Go- FOUNDERS-Nancy Cole-Hough & Tami Badinger- “The women, (Cole-Hough & Badinger) who two years ago were FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHERS at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane.” Jared Paben, September, 13th, 2006.
http://www.spokesmanreview.com/tools/story_pf.asp?ID=149276
They weren’t even Home Ec teachers for cryin out loud!!

“Badinger and Cole Hough decided to start franchising their small business 11 MONTHS AFTER OPENING IT” – (my emphasis)
“We decided to bust a move EARLY (my emphasis) because if we didn’t, our franchisees wouldn’t be on the ground floor of this burgeoning business,” Cole Hough said. (HMMMM….sounds a little opportunistic in my opinion)

Those quotes PRETTY much sum up everything that is WRONG with what you have to say.

With no culinary experience to speak of with a grand total of 11 months of business experience under their belts-CENA founders started selling franchises 11 MONTHS after opening ONE store in Spokane, Washington, in my opinion, certainly NOT a representative sampling of Any Town USA where these Meal Prep/Assembly Kitchens, Kitchen Outsourcing, Home Meal Replacement have opened and where most have FAILED, even in the “perfect” demographic profiles.

Did Cena’s founders know it would be successful anywhere else?

Did they consider taking their show on the road to see if the concept was viable any where else before they started “selling” franchises for their little experimental concept?

Was their concept fully vetted or did they just see dollar signs?

* * * * *

A very reliable source told me that Super Supper’s just closed 10 stores last month….

One super Suppers store in a town in Ohio closed after being opened only 6 months.

The Supper Supers Ardmore store that Admin relates is frightening and again burns my biscuits to a veritable southern fried crisp…where is the professional FrannieZor guidance franchisees PAY for when they buy one of these “opportunities’? Where is the support?

* * * * *

So, how does a Meal Prep Industry apologist explain the MASS failure of the Meal Prep/Assembly kitchen franchises that DO have a Culinary expert at the helm, Entrée Vous & Super Suppers spring to mind-neither one is doing all that well either. So that argument is shot all to hell too, right?

Even Franchise Great veteran Ex-Gov. John Brown shuttered the doors of his version of the concept after 6 months and 2 or 3 stores under the name “Suzanne’s Kitchen” (as in Suzanne Sommers). He claimed the concept was too labor intensive for consumers and was going to let experienced experts revamp it to be more customer friendly and re-open. That was nearly 2 years ago, I’m guessin’ he was smart enough to see the writing on the wall and got the hell out of Dodge with minimal financial loss- unfortunately the same probably can’t be said for the Franchisees in that organization either. At this point my opinion is that unless you actually eat the food for them it’s not going to get any more customer friendly.

Karen said: “…The convenience of a home-cooked meal, ready-to-cook, sit down with the family, that isn’t full of preservatives, etc….”

The food quality issue is funny because as stated somewhere else on this board, you all get your inventory from the same manufacturers, most from the same distributors.

There is no magic Meal Prep faerie that delivers minimally processed, preservative free ingredients to Meal Prep stores. Don’t get me wrong there MIGHT be some stores that provide that type of finished product, but it comes with a premium price tag, and is therefore no longer cost effective for the consumer.
Folks will actually have a better chance getting better quality, less expensive minimal preservativized ready-made, frozen or M&T meals from Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Tesco, Trader Joes, or even Costco who has take & bake organic fare now, and yes, even from the grocery store; than from ANY Meal Prep/Assembly, Kitchen Outsourcing, Cooking Studio, Home Meal Replacement store. It’s just simple economics and scale of buying power.

Besides, most “meals” from a Meal Prep store have to be prepped at home, thawed before cooking, or at least have some minimal planning that goes into the consumption/usage of the meals.
That is generally beyond the preference/normal practice of most busy family food preparers.

Karen said: “…there might be something to salvage. Get rid of the sessions and call it good – that’s where they’re all headed. Why is it so terrible for it to morph into something slightly different?”
Sorry to be Captain Obvious here, but that is indeed called a grocery store or a restaurant, not a “meal prep/assembly store”

* * * * *

Super Suppers has already become “your make & take place”, Make and on the Take Gourmet has muffed it and puts out these outrageous PR articles, MGFK’s original FrannieZOR has taken the money and ran by selling to another player in this troubled industry for pennies on the dollar to the detriment of former MGFK store owners, Dinners By Design second CEO thinks that a centralized community freezer for stock-piled meals for customers to pick-up or kiosks at Malls for pick meals is the way to go. I think all the players in this game have weighed in and pretty much have this half-baked “morphing” idea covered. And in opinion-all stupid morphisms my. All the while happily “skipping” their franchisees into financial oblivion.
My spidey senses are tingling and I have a sneaking suspicion that nobody in the game has a clue.

* * * * *

Again Karen good luck with whatever it is you do; whether it’s damage control for some lucky frannniezor, a crack PR person, a MAK apologist, propagandist for the industry or if you are indeed a person who is looking to buy one of these things and “morph-it” into a whatever you positive thinker types are calling it now, good luck and God’s speed, you are going to need that and PLENTY of cash in reserve for the lean years.
Thanks for playin’, but where I come from there’s an old sayin’-
“You can’t fix stupid.”

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