From caipirinhas to calzones, daquiris to dumplings, and maki rolls to Manhattan’s; during lockdown, we have seen many operators diversify by introducing meal kits and cocktail deliveries to recreate in-venue experiences from the comfort of consumer’s homes, writes Charlotte Cavanagh.
Having spent most of the past year in lockdown, it’s fair to say the well of ‘interesting things to do’ has well and truly ran dry. Like a knight in shining armour, delivery kits have risen to my rescue, in spectacular fashion. They turn routine everyday tasks into a new and refreshed experience, reinstating my motivation to expand my culinary horizons, and provide new ways to celebrate occasions – from birthdays, bank holidays, to random Wednesday evenings! Sales have almost doubled in the past 12 months with recent data from KAM Media revealing that 40% of people have either bought or considered buying a cook at home meal kit, whilst 38% of consumers have bought a ‘mix at home’ cocktail delivery and intend to do so in the future.
These kits have given me a tantalising slice of the hospitality experience which I miss dearly, but the key question is whether this will still be the case come 17 May when indoor hospitality reopens.
A convenient option
The trend is likely to continue throughout 2021, as people have become accustomed to the habit of ordering make-away meals and pre-made cocktails in order to create elevated dining experiences at home. Michelle McIntosh, founder of restaurant meal kit company, Restaurant Box, suggests it is likely to continue post-pandemic and delivery kits are one way of reaching people who won’t visit cities as often as they did previously. Chef Adam Handling of Hame agrees, stating that meal kits have enabled them to reach new markets which weren’t previously attainable.
Food for thought
Despite the challenges facing hospitality over the past year, we have seen the industry come together as one and innovate in order to survive – delivery kits being one example – and I don’t see this stagnating any time soon. While the initial aim may have been driven by a need to utilise stock that would have otherwise gone to waste, as time has gone on, these kits have evolved, as operators find ways to drive revenue despite their doors being shut.
It will be interesting to observe how businesses might continue to innovate within this space even after restrictions (eventually) get lifted to try and stand out from the crowd. We have already seen this to a certain degree, with the emergence of DIY and premix cocktails deliveries through the letterbox – we’re bound to see more formats appear moving forwards. Looking to the future; expect hyper-personalised deliveries as gifts and the opportunity to participate in chef and celebrity cook-a-longs – one example being Michael O’Hare of Michelin starred restaurant, Man Behind the Curtain. All of which offer exciting and unique at-home experiences.
So, while delivery kits have allowed businesses to stay connected with customers, it will be fascinating to see how this plays out once people are able to return to venues.
If all this has left you feeling hungry for more – here are a few of the FSC team’s favourite, tried and tested delivery kits: