MINNEAPOLIS -- Lund's Stores here is using direct customer feedback to help develop its home-meal replacement menu options.
The chain is inserting postage-paid customer comment cards into every Dinners To Go order that its sells, according to Laurie Kelly, deli merchandiser.
Based on the results of a 47% return rate, the operator has been able to glean important information and learn lessons from its customers, including preferences and lifestyles.
For example, it added a can of crispy fried onions to the meals that contain green bean casserole because of customer requests. Carrots are now steamed a touch longer so that they are softer. Bread and roll varieties have been adjusted, and now the clamored-for cloverleaf roll rules the bread selections.
Customers have also used the cards to specifically compliment store-level people and particular dishes within the Dinners To Go bundled meals.
"We have shared this information with our employees," Kelly said. "You often don't know how your customers react once they leave the store with their meal. The comments have not only taught us a lot about our foods and our business, they have also made us excited about doing dinners."
The operator has offered Dinners To Go for the past three years. Dinners To Go started as a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving. "The first year we sold out," said Kelly.
With sales success as a track record, Lund's added a Christ-mas Dinner with spiral ham and then offered a leg of lamb dinner at Eastertime. Now, Kelly says, customers are using Dinners To Go when they are having any gathering at their homes.
Consumer-completed information included on the post card includes the type of dinner and asks for the rating of portion size, quality of food, ease of preparation and overall price and value. Customers are also asked if the meal was ready for them at pick-up time and if the meal met their expectations. Then there is room for unsolicited comments.
Turkey meals include a 12-pound turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, cranberry relish, glazed carrots, pumpkin pie and rolls. The meals are presented in a big box with a handle and the Lund's Dinners To Go logo on the side. Complete cooking instructions are included, as is a recipe for turkey soup.