Demand for fresh and unique grab-and-go options is at an all-time high with food-savvy convenience-conscious guests. While grab-and-go was always the desired option for snagging a quick meal while at school, at work, or in a healthcare setting, it’s even more popular now as COVID-19 has changed the norm in dining. Despite many obstacles, students and other consumers still need access to healthy meals on the go. Grab-and-Go concepts have been gaining in popularity as a quick and contactless way to purchase ready to eat meals in any setting.
“After in-person visits to many of our clients to examine the various grab-and-go dining programs we offer, we felt it was time to raise the bar and rebrand our grab-and-go concept,” said Greg Polk, COO, Metz Culinary Management. “I challenged our marketing and culinary teams for a new way to brand and market grab-and-go, as well as some innovative menu development.” The result of this challenge is Chef Fresh, a new grab-and-go program focused on chef-inspired , freshly prepared menu items that uses locally sources ingredients whenever possible. It’s quickly become a well-implemented and branded product line.
Fresh, convenient, fast and safe
It’s not just about fast anymore. In addition to a convenience-driven market, safety is of primary concern in educational dining programs, as well as business settings and in the healthcare sector. Social distancing is vital to health and wellbeing and Chef Fresh is an ideal solution for grabbing a meal and eating on your own. “It was fortuitous that we launched the new Chef Fresh grab-and-go concept as the coronavirus spurred the need for contactless dining options,” Polk said. “We completed the branding and menu development last year with plans for a complete launch this year and the timing couldn’t be better.” Chef Fresh is enabling students and others to go in, grab what they want to eat, and get out quickly, easily, and with minimal contact.
The new Chef Fresh brand really does say it all. The freshest ingredients used in unique recipes developed by talented chefs. While consumers can still get their traditional grab-and-go favorites, the on-trend allure of a newer menu is sure to please. Here’s just a sampling of new grab-and-go items.
- Shaker salads featuring healthy ingredients, such as Mediterranean Lentil & White Quinoa or Southwest Black Bean and Ruby Wild Blend.
- Popular new bowls including a Vegetarian Power Bowl and a Pineapple Strawberry Coconut Chia Bowl.
- The Metz Culinary chefs also stepped up their sandwich game with fresh features including a BLT & Pesto Chicken sandwich and Smoked Turkey & Bacon on a Pretzel Roll among others.
- Healthy snack choices include homemade trail mix or money mix, as well as hummus and vegetables.
- Homemade desserts include egg custard pie, strawberry cream pie, and apple, blueberry, and raspberry scones.
Branded signage and packaging is key for visibility and appeal
Consumers want to see what they will be eating, and they want it to look fresh and enticing. While the Metz Culinary team ensures that items are freshly made and presented in an appealing way, packaging seals the deal. Branded packaging not only showcases the quality of the food, but also provides nutritional information labels for those with special dietary restrictions or others looking for nutrition information. Visibility is essential to selling grab-and-go. When a consumer can actually see the fresh ingredients and read the nutritional information, they can make a more informed and healthy decision. Metz Culinary has also included eco-friendly packaging alternatives to do its part for the health of the environment.
Chef Fresh products are displayed in open-air coolers fitted with branded decals and specially designed signage. Coolers are positioned for the smooth management of traffic flow in a safe and efficient manner. The Metz Culinary team realizes that aesthetics are also important in the retail display of the Chef Fresh product line. Attention-grabbing banners, branded menu templates, and frequency cards also help with marketing this new concept.
A fresher, healthier alternative to fast food
Chef Fresh is delivering to students and other consumers a fast and convenient way to eat healthy meals and snacks on the go whenever and wherever they want. Any successful dining program needs a carefully executed grab-and-go concept that enables consumers to easily access what they want and pay for it quickly and without contact. The popularity of this product line with time-crunched college students or in other foodservice settings is all about conveniently accessing healthy delicious meals and snacks. As younger consumers lead the way with their demand for the ease of grab-and-go, a quality program such as Fresh Chef has an edge over traditional fast-food options because of its fresh and unique menu.