Chick-fil-A, Denny’s add meal kits

The two are the latest big chains to try that form of to-go and delivered meals.
Photo courtesy of Chick-fil-A

Dine-in service is resuming in a number of states, but restaurant chains aren’t discarding what’s been learned from a month of to-go-only business, including the popularity of meal kits. Now Chick-fil-A and Denny’s are aiming to capitalize on that option’s staying power by adding kits across their systems.

Chick-fil-A will add a $14.99 Chicken Parmesan Meal Kit starting Monday, the high-flying chicken chain says on its website.  The boxed to-go and delivery option provides cooked and raw ingredients to prepare the classic Italian meal in 25 minutes for a party of two. It comes with a six-step recipe.

The chain indicated that units nationwide will have the option of adding the meal kit. About 150 branches in the greater Atlanta area started testing meal kits in 2018. The chicken Parmesan kit was one of those, Chick-fil-A said.

Denny’s entrant is a line of four meal kits and one heat-and-assemble dessert. Prices start at $12.99.

The savory array includes a pancake breakfast that serves four to six people; a sandwich kit with fixings for four to six eaters; a chicken and rice dinner for four; and a Slow-Cooked Pot Roast Meal Kit, for six to eight people.

Each comes with all the ingredients for the main dish, plus condiments and sides.

The dessert kit consists of an oven-ready tray of Denny’s apple crisp, along with a gallon of vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce.

Simultaneous with rolling out the meal kits, Denny’s is adding a line of groceries and household retail products, including toilet paper, eggs and bread.

Both lines are being marketed under the name Denny’s Market and are available for takeout and delivery.

“Denny’s is committed to finding new and innovative ways to continue to feed our communities, especially during this time when we’re practicing social distancing and staying at home,” John Dillon, Denny’s chief brand officer, said in a statement. “We hope that our Denny’s Market meal kits and grocery program help alleviate the need to go to overcrowded grocery stores and make mealtime a little easier.”

Other chains, from Beef ‘O’ Brady’s to Panera Bread, have found big retail-style orders to be popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, in part because of the shortages encountered in supermarkets and partly due to families being forced by social distancing considerations to eat at home.

IHOP and other operations that compete with Denny’s at breakfast say takeout and delivery sales for that meal occasion have been more sluggish than the volume at dinner.

One of those competitors, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, has just introduced a line of family meals.  

Neither Chick-fil-A nor Denny’s divulged how many of their restaurants will offer the new meal kits.

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