TWO CHAINS PLANNING TEST OF SOLUTIONS KIOSK FORMULA

A novel meal-solutions concept, in which ingredients are offered at a front-end kiosk with its own checkout, is slated to be tested at two major retailers, according to Stephan Kouzomis, president of Entrepreneurial Consulting, Louisville, Ky.Though Kouzomis declined to identify the chains, he said one is located in the Southwest, while the other is in the Mid-Atlantic. The test is planned to begin

A novel meal-solutions concept, in which ingredients are offered at a front-end kiosk with its own checkout, is slated to be tested at two major retailers, according to Stephan Kouzomis, president of Entrepreneurial Consulting, Louisville, Ky.

Though Kouzomis declined to identify the chains, he said one is located in the Southwest, while the other is in the Mid-Atlantic. The test is planned to begin at the end of January.

Entrepreneurial Consulting, which created the program and showcased it at the Washington-based Food Marketing Institute's MealSolutions show this year, is also negotiating with four other retailers.

The kiosk, which ranges in size from 150 square feet to 500 square feet, contains dry groceries, produce, frozen and refrigerated ingredients for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Each retailer picks its own brand name for the meal-solutions center.

"We want to position it as a brand," Kouzomis said.

Bundled meals -- up to three or four for each meal occasion -- are offered each week. Shelf-stable products are prebagged for speed and convenience; additional items are added to the shopping bag once a customer comes in and actually picks out a meal.

Kouzomis is recommending that each retailer test the concept for 90 days in no more than five units, so close attention can be paid to demographics.

In addition to the kiosk, point-of-sale material, recipes and recipe cards, Entrepreneurial Consulting provides retailers and their chosen suppliers with education and training until the program is entirely operational.