- Chick-fil-A will launch a meal kit nationally beginning May 4, according to a company release. Each restaurant will decide whether to offer the product or not, but Chick-fil-A expects nearly half of its locations to adopt the menu item, according to CNN Business.
- The $14.99 chicken parmesan meal kit's recipe is similar to one of the five meal kits the chain tested in more than 100 Atlanta restaurants in 2018. It includes ready-to-heat breaded chicken filets, marinara sauce, cheese and pasta ingredients that can be made in 25 minutes or less with a six-step recipe card. Diners can customize the meal by swapping breaded for grilled or spicy chicken, and each kit feeds two people, according to the press release.
- Diners can order the meal kit at Chick-fil-A drive-thrus, via its mobile app or through one of its third-party delivery partners, including DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub.
As municipal social distancing mandates keep diners at home en masse, Chick-fil-A couldn't have picked a better time to roll out the meal kit concept it tested in 2018. Even with its home state of Georgia partially reopening dining rooms this week, the offering could appeal to customers who are wary of returning to a "new normal" so soon — especially since no state has achieved the federally recommended 14-day decline in novel coronavirus cases before reopening.
The meal kits also prime the chain to increase its average basket size, since the kit can be tacked on to orders for regular menu items at restaurant drive-thrus, pickup windows or via delivery. It also gives Chick-fil-A a competitive offering against grocery stores, which have seen sales skyrocket since the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the U.S. Diners shifted 10% of their spending away from restaurants and to supermarkets during this time, raising grocery sales almost 73% the week ending March 20 compared to the same week in 2019, according to Black Box Intelligence.
"The idea is that it saves you a trip to the grocery store, saving time and worry about finding substitutions for ingredients since everything is already pre-measured and ready to heat," Stuart Tracy, Chick-fil-A chef and senior culinary lead developer, said in the company release.
Because Chick-fil-A is one of the first major chicken chains to launch its own meal kit, it could continue to give it a leg up over rival chicken chains like Popeyes and Raising Cane's. While the meal kit industry has struggled with saturation over the past few years, the pandemic could be the boost it needs to bring consumers back. The once-booming, crowded space has seen brands like Chef'd and Munchery shut down, but stay-at-home orders helped boost Daily Harvest and Green Chef's March sales by 68.5% and 50%, respectively.
Diners could also be more ready for a restaurant-backed meal kit now than a few weeks ago as major chains like Subway, Panera and Potbelly — as well as a slew of independent restaurants — have been offering their ingredients as groceries.