During the pandemic, many restaurateurs have gotten creative when it comes to generating sales. From promoting delivery and takeout options to opening outdoor dining on sidewalks and parking lots, this creativity has helped many restaurants stay afloat during these challenging times.  

Another idea that is growing in popularity is the meal kit. Meal kits offer many benefits to restaurants, especially as some communities prepare for the winter months and the resurgence of possible indoor dining restrictions. Here are a few reasons why you should consider selling meal kits to your customers.

They Keep Customers Connected

Meal kits help keep your customers connected to your food. Are they missing your famous noodle dish, like the customers at Xi’an Famous Foods? The New York restaurant recently began shipping their meal kits around the country. Shipping customers a meal kit with the ingredients to make your cuisine at home satisfies a craving and keeps your business on their mind for the future.

They’re Fun

A lot of people are bored in quarantine, and looking for fun projects to keep them occupied. Cooking has seen a resurgence in popularity, and providing meal kits to allow your customers to experiment with something new is a fun way to keep them entertained and provide them with a delicious reward at the end.

They Solve A Problem

Everyone needs to eat, so providing meal kits solves the age-old question, “what’s for dinner?”  Furthermore, with the holidays coming up, customers will appreciate the opportunity to take home a pre-prepared meal that takes the guesswork out of dinner and allows them to skip crowded grocery stores during the pandemic.

They’re Convenient

In addition to allowing customers to stop by your restaurant to pick up meal kits in person, you may want to consider shipping them directly to your customers’ homes. This concept has worked for many meal kit services like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron.  Though shipping prices may be high between packing materials and overnight shipping, some customers are willing to pay the fee for a special meal.

They Can Get You Free Publicity

If you do decide to offer meal kits, encourage your customers to share their results on social media. They can create an Instagram story, TikTok video, or simply tag you in a photo on Instagram or Facebook when they share their culinary masterpieces. This generates interest among their friends, but also provides feedback for you on what works and doesn’t work when it comes to your preparation instructions.

Should You Offer Meal Kits?

Offering meal kits requires some creativity on your part. Which meals will you offer? How will you package them? How will you get the word out that they’re available? Once you decide to offer them, they could bring in a lot of sales. At Russ & Daughters, by mail sales have increased 400 percent. Other restaurants like Mo’s Original estimate about 70 percent of their sales came from meal kits before dining restrictions were eased. 

As for what to offer, consider your best selling dishes and maybe some special offerings that aren’t on your regular menu. To promote your meal kits, social media campaigns on Facebook and Instagram can introduce your followers to your new venture. If your budget allows, promoting posts can help attract a wider audience that may not already follow your business.