Dishing Up the Competition

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Dishing Up the Competition

Let's Dish!, one of the first retail meal preparation stores in the country, is opening a national prototype store in Apple Valley, Minn., next month.

Let's Dish! currently has three company-owned locations in the Twin Cities suburbs of Eden Prairie, Maple Grove and Woodbury and four licensed locations, including two in Maryland, one in Virginia and one in Washington. The average store is 2,300 square feet and generates annual store sales in excess of $1.4 million.

The company also recently signed its first franchise area development agreement with BW Passion LLC of Hopkinton, Mass., to franchise 16 Let's Dish! retail meal preparation stores in the Boston area within the next four years.

The Let's Dish! concept was introduced in October 2003. Customers make menu choices, sign up and prepay for sessions at the company's Web site. When customers arrive at the store, refrigerated workstations for each menu item are stocked with all necessary ingredients, which can be varied to meet specific tastes. Customers rotate from station to station, preparing eight to 12 different entrees each designed to serve six. The meals are then brought home to be frozen or refrigerated and cooked at a later date.