ATLANTA (CNN Money) – Chick-fil-A is dipping into the meal kit business. The fast food chain announced on Monday that it will test a meal kit service from late August through the middle of November. Customers will be able to pick up the kits at 150 participating locations in the Atlanta area.
The meals include chicken flatbread, crispy dijon chicken, chicken parmesan, chicken enchiladas and pan-roasted chicken, and include sides such as kale salad and macaroni and cheese. Chick-fil-A said that each meal should require less than 30 minutes to prepare.READ MORE: 'Vote Them Out': Willie Nelson Headlines Rally Against GOP-Backed Voting Changes In Texas
The kits cost $15.89 and serve two people.
“Restaurant chains are looking for creative ways to reach consumers outside of their restaurants,” explained R.J. Hottovy, a restaurant analyst for Morningstar. “Meal kits are an interesting solution.”
Meal kits could help Chick-fil-A test possible new menu items, Hottovy said. It could also allow Chick-fil-A to let customers handle more complicated meals, rather than mass-producing them in its restaurants.
Chick-fil-A “might not consider it efficient to cook those on demand because of the different pieces involved,” added John Gordon, a restaurant analyst with Pacific Management Consulting Group. But, during slower hours, Chick-fil-A employees could prepare the food for the kit, he said.
The company is hoping that customers will pick up the meal kits while they are already in the restaurants, Michael Patrick, who works on innovation for Chick-fil-A, said in a statement.READ MORE: Man Found Dead After Being Shot And Then Crashing Vehicle In Dallas, Police Say
Chick-fil-A is asking customers who do not live in Atlanta, but are interested in the meal kit options, to reach out. However, restaurant consultant Aaron Allen thinks that it is unlikely that Chick-fil-A will roll the kits out nationally. Instead, he believes that the effort is a publicity stunt.
“It kind of feels a little bit like IHOB,” Allen said, referring to IHOP’s temporary name change.
By experimenting with meal kit service, Allen added, Chick-fil-A is tapping into a trend. But he does not think that it makes sense for Chick-fil-A, which is known for fast, friendly service and simple food, to bet on more complicated meals prepared at home.
Austin Wright, who works on strategy for the advertising agency Ansira, thinks that the experiment is too much work to be just a marketing scheme. “This is an attempt for them to increase the average ticket size,” Wright stated. “People can only buy so many chicken sandwiches.”
Chick-fil-A said that it is the first quick-service restaurant to launch a meal kit service. Other big companies, like Walmart and Kroger, are testing out their own options. Blue Apron, the popular meal delivery service that went public last year, is struggling. Shares of the company are down about 21 percent this year.MORE NEWS: Police: Celina Officers Shoot, Kill Armed Suspect
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