Since the advent of the microwave and the frozen dinner, companies have come up with ways to help the home cook put a meal on the table in minutes. Most recently, that’s meant the rise of meal-kit services, a sector now well-stocked with names like HelloFresh, Blue Apron, Home Chef, Freshly and Plated, and local contenders such as PeachDish and Garnish & Gather.
Add another name to the list: Chick-fil-A.
Next month, the Atlanta-based fast-food chain will become the first quick-service restaurant to enter the meal-kit market. It is launching a new product called Mealtime Kits, made up of fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and Chick-fil-A chicken, and designed for customers to cook at home.
The kits will be available starting Aug. 27 and sold for a limited time at 150 metro Atlanta Chick-fil-A restaurants. Customers can purchase the kits in the drive-thru, at the counter or via the Chick-fil-A One app. Unlike most other meal-kit concepts, no subscription or call-ahead ordering is required.
Kits are packaged in 100-percent recyclable, compostable boxes and do not include freezer packs or insulated foam. “From a sustainability standpoint, feel really good here,” said innovation program lead Michael Patrick.
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Credit: Chris Hunt / Special
Credit: Chris Hunt / Special
During the test period, which runs through Nov. 17, Chick-fil-A will rotate five chicken meal-kit recipes: Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Enchiladas, Dijon Chicken, Pan Roasted Chicken and Chicken Flatbread. Each kit serves two people and costs $15.89. Meals are designed to be ready in 30 minutes.
Recipes are all made using the same antibiotic-free chicken that Chick-fil-A uses to prepare its menu items. The chicken included in the kits is not breaded and cooked, as with Chick-fil-A chicken menu items. It is raw chicken that has been trimmed and marinated.
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While dishes such as chicken Parmesan, enchiladas and flatbreads are not on the Chick-fil-A menu board, 90 percent of the ingredients used to prepare recipes in the new kits are mainstays in Chick-fil-A kitchens, according to Patrick.
Apart from cooking oil, kits do not require any additional ingredients.
Each kit is marked with a “use-by” date and can be refrigerated for seven days. Kits are also labeled with nutritional information.
The recipes were developed by Stuart Tracy, who left his post as executive chef at Parish in Inman Park last fall to join the Chick-fil-A culinary development team.
Chick-fil-A has launched a web page for Atlanta-area customers to tell the company where they would like the meal kits to be available. Customers outside of Atlanta can enter their zip code to let Chick-fil-A know where they'd like the meal kits to be tested next.
The company will use customer feedback to determine whether to roll out the concept at its more than 2,300 restaurants nationwide.
“This is one of the most innovative product launches in our company’s history,” Patrick said. It is also the company’s largest test in the Atlanta market, according to Patrick.
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