OPINIONEmerging Brands

Remembering the restaurant boom that fooled investors 20 years ago

Restaurant Rewind: Meal assembly concepts were going to be big. But their implosion was what made the loudest noise.

This episode of Restaurant Rewind is brought to you by Tock.

Even casual listeners can hear plenty of wheezing these days from ghost kitchen and virtual concept specialists. The quick about-face in that sector calls to mind a boom that looked at the start of this century like it would reset competition for families’ dinner business—only to collapse in short order, helped along by the Great Recession.

If you’re not familiar with meal assembly and prep concepts, you either weren’t in the business back then, or you’ve repressed the memory. Join me for this episode of the Restaurant Rewind podcast as we look back at a true flash in the hotel pan: the dozens of ventures that bet parents would welcome the chance to put together a week’s worth of meals in a social setting.

We’ll take a look at the factors that (briefly) made meal assembly concepts a wave to ride, and why it crashed in short order, leaving behind a few brands that managed to recast themselves.

Download this and every episode of the weekly trip back in time from wherever you usually get your podcasts.

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