Today Chick-fil-A announced that they would roll out “Mealtime Kits” in 150 Atlanta area locations this August, making them the first fast-food company to enter the crowded meal kit market.
Each Chick-fil-A box will contain fresh, pre-measured ingredients to make one of five meals, from chicken enchiladas to chicken flatbread to pan-roasted chicken. (Sense a theme here?) The kits will cost $15.89, feed two people, and can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.
The key differentiator here isn’t what’s in the meal kits, but where you can buy them: they’ll be available Chick-fil-A drive-thrus, indoor ordering counters, or through the company’s app. The company claims they’ll sell them until mid-November, though they might extend or expand the run if it’s successful.
This move will be an interesting test case to see if restaurants — specifically fast food restaurants — will get into the meal kit space. On one hand, it seems counter-intuitive to buy a meal kit from a drive-thru window when you could buy ready-to-eat food from the same place for a comparable price. At the same time, it’s hard to beat the convenience; as soon as you decide you want to make chicken enchiladas for dinner, all you have to do is swing by your local Chick-fil-A and grab one.
As Chris Albrecht mused last week, white label meal kit startup Chef’d’s abrupt shut down last week might be a death knell for independent meal kit companies. Those that remain seem to be trying everything they can think of to gain a foothold: Blue Apron has tried branding kits with celebrities, Purple Carrot debuted 100% recyclable packaging, and other companies are offering doctor-recommended options.
Meal kit point of sale is also in flux. Lots of companies are moving away from the at-home delivery model and transitioning into selling kits in grocery stores, drugstores, and beyond. Chick-fil-A could start offering their boxes at third-party retailers too, of course, though they’ll have to compete for shelf space with other meal kit companies. By selling their kits in drive-thrus, Chick-fil-A brings the sale one step closer to the consumer — they don’t even have to get out of their car.
If Chick-fil-A’s experiment is successful, we’ll no doubt see other fast food joints, from Arby’s to Zaxby’s, rolling out branded meal kits of their own.