Meal kits have become a popular alternative to at-home cooking for the last few years, and the trend really took off in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic resulted in restaurant restrictions and caused more people to stay home.

There are large organizations out there selling subscription meal kits such as Blue Apron, Purple Carrot, and HelloFresh that offer monthly subscription packages to cook your meals at home.  Grocery stores like Whole Foods, Kroger, Publix, even Wal-Mart are jumping on the bandwagon and offering meal kits that will be delivered right to your door without the monthly subscription fee and managing of picking the meals in your account each week. 

As both of these services offer a break in your daily routine, and easy meal prep without having to meal plan and shop, what they lack is the connection to a brand, and atmosphere, the heart and soul of your favorite restaurant.  Your restaurant is in a prime position to join the meal kit trend. Many venues added meal kit offerings over the last year, and customers have been lining up to try cooking their favorite restaurant dishes at home.

As a consumer, I don’t just love the food at my favorite restaurants, the way the music and decor set the tone of the meal, how the staff remembers our names and orders. I love the fact that I can order meals or drinks not listed on the menu because I’ve been eating at the same spots for years and know the history. The whole experience of eating out at my favorite restaurant is more like grabbing dinner at a friend’s house that I feel comfortable with and can enjoy my time. 

And this is exactly where you can set yourself apart from those big-box meal kit options that are available and design a complete experience around your meal kit to make it feel like I’m having a meal with a friend versus just ordering food that I have to cook at home. 

Meal kits are great for:

  • Using up inventory 
  • A new revenue stream
  • Allowing customers to recreate popular dishes that may not be best for take-out or travel
  • Targeting no-cook meal kits to local events, attractions, lunch in the park, drive-in movie meal, outdoor music events, and more. These kits should be customized to what is going on locally in your community
  • Complete chef experiences — order meal kits, and cook along with the chef in-house, or even via live or pre-recorded videos 
  • Adding to the retail options already available at your venue. Make it super easy to add-on to the order with extras like dipping sauces, jelly, jams, or T-shirts

Meal kit ideas

We love these meal kit ideas since they are easy to prepare at home, you can make them family-friendly with more accessible food options, elevate them with more mature flavors, and they are so easy to customize and make them true to the ingredients and flavors that you offer at your venue. 

  1. Bento boxes
  2. Salad kits
  3. At-home ramen
  4. Pizza kits
  5. Pasta and protein
  6. Decorate your own cookies or cupcakes
  7. Ice cream sundae
  8. Roll your own sushi
  9. Breakfast for dinner
  10. Whole chicken dinner
  11. Brunch
  12. Tacos
  13. Fondue — cheese or chocolate, better yet, both

Use these details to create a 360 experience:

  • Inclusive wording in the marketing materials
  • Add in a printed card, with social hashtags, and handles
  • Branded bar coasters, napkins, 
  • Printed menus
  • QR code card that links to the music stations you would typically play in the venue
  • Flyers for upcoming events, specials, and meal kits

DirectBook makes it easy for guests to purchase meal kits

Tripleseat’s DirectBook feature allows restaurants, hotels, and venues to offer their customers a seamless and easy way to sell meal kits, as well as the ability to book, manage, and execute any off-site catering, in-house private events, and takeout and delivery services with zero friction or negotiations.

If your venue isn’t using our DirectBook feature yet, head on over to our DirectBook page for instructions on how to get set up. You can also check our DirectBook playlist on YouTube for more information on how this exciting new product works.

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