Restaurants have certainly had to adapt as a result of the global pandemic, and rather than stay reactive to new regulations and safety measures, many have pivoted to be proactive with their services.
Among the many restaurant trends that have skyrocketed in popularity with a hungry, housebound public, high-end meal kits from restaurants is the new high-touch, catering service for families that we didn’t know we needed.
Let’s look at when this trend began, why it’s continuing to grow in popularity and how restaurants are using it to connect with customers.
Adapting to a Global Pandemic
The global COVID-19 pandemic turned the restaurant industry upside down – dining rooms were forced to close, and businesses were relying on take-out to stay afloat. Restaurant goers still wanted to support their local businesses while also doing their part to flatten the curve, so chefs got creative and started designing meal kits that could be prepared at home.
The level of difficulty involved with the meal kits vary. Some involve completely cooking the meal yourself, while others require you to reheat various ingredients once you’re at home. Some have to be picked up, some appear on your doorstep.
And while individual executions may differ, the decision to offer this style of dining not only helped restaurants adapt to the pandemic and keep their business afloat – it also tapped into a dormant culinary demand that won’t soon go away!
Why High-End Meal Kits are Taking Off
When you go out to eat, you’re looking for more than just a meal. And if you can’t affect the Dining as an Experience trend inside the restaurant, then you need to go big on making experiential count with what you have: quality ingredients and innovative pairings. Traditional to-go meals from restaurants often lack this, and many times the food doesn’t even taste the same by the time you get home.
High-end meal kits solve this problem and have created a brand-new category of dining. Built upon the framework of traditional meal kit services like Blue Apron or Home Chef, restaurants can go beyond a standard menu that anyone in the country can get and zero in on what makes their own brand unique – while also amplifying the experience with a more curated dining experience.
Restaurant meal kits typically come from a local establishment that you know and love without any need for a recurring subscription. In essence, chefs are trying to serve you in your home as they would if you were sat in their restaurant. From the stemware to the menu to the bottle pairing to the decadent dessert waiting in the wings, meal kits make their mark when they recreate the culinary experience.
How Restaurants are Thinking Outside the Meal-in-a-Box
Restaurants across the country are already taking advantage of this trend and have begun to offer their own meal kits.
Roberta’s, a pizza company in Brooklyn, offers their diners ready-made sauces, oiled dough balls, and a selection of toppings that can be delivered directly to their door. They can experience the same high-quality meal while safely at home, and they get the added enjoyment of cooking it.
In fact, these high-end meal kits are doing so well that restaurants are restructuring their business around them. For example, the chef at Eleven Madison Park was originally against take-out but was willing to reconsider after offering a chicken dinner that customers can cook themselves – for $275!
In Cottleville, MO, a fine dining restaurant named Stone Soup Cottage currently exclusively offers a “Cottage to Carriage” service that lets hungry patrons pre-book a special dinner package for two that shows up at your door right before dinner time and features a premium three course meal from the chef alongside wine paired to the menu by their sommelier, linen napkins, candles and stemware. All for $150 with delivery, tax and tip included.
Stay Innovative to Keep Consumers Interested
Restaurant meal kits have proven to be an innovative way for businesses to help themselves out while solving the needs of consumers during a global pandemic. Customers can support their local restaurants and enjoy the food they love while staying safe at home. Even after the industry has found a new normal, we expect high-end meal kits to remain a popular trend.
In the same way, Nikken Foods continues to innovate our high-quality, all-natural ingredients to ensure your product’s flavor stands out from the competition. Learn more about Nikken Foods today!