Blue Apron made a name for itself in the online meal kit industry by selling ready-to-go meal kits with recipes and pre-measured ingredients at the click of a button. Now, the company aims to go “outside the box” and open its first pop-up store in the New York area.
The new pop-up will allow customers and potential customers to explore its products in person and learn some cooking skills in the process. Blue Apron will be offering cooking classes and panel discussions with notable chefs, aimed at answering questions and providing guidance to amateur cooks. Customers and attendees can see for themselves how Blue Apron works as well, from opening the box to bringing the prepared dinner to table.
Each week through the end of June, the pop-up will feature a different theme, including:
- Party Vibes Week (week of May 29)
- Chef University Week (week of June 5)
- Fam Jam Week (week of June 12)
- Besties & Baes Week (week of June 19)
Blue Apron has also planned free movie nights that will include lawn games, themed snacks, giveaways and other activities, hoping to generate some buzz and visibility.
Customers and the curious can attend most events for free, with the exception of a fee for cooking classes. Proceeds from those will be donated to City Harvest, a food rescue service in New York.
Blue Apron has had a turbulent year, starting with the disappointing IPO last June in the wake of Amazon’s announcement that it was entering the market. Since then, it has struggled to retain subscribers and has had several problems with fulfillment from its New Jersey distribution center. Competitor Hello Fresh has seen its own market share go up, and other meal kit services are expanding into stores such as Chef’d, or being acquired by larger companies, such as Plated. Blue Apron however has seen its shares decline over time, despite overall growth in the industry.
Blue Apron is hoping that pop-up stores will increase interest and reach a new market outside of their online customers. The company also plans to provide its meal kits in grocery stores in the coming months, hoping to reach out to customers who are looking for convenience but might not be comfortable with committing to an online subscription. They have partnered with Costco Inc. to provide exclusive products in the Pacific Northwest and San Francisco Bay Area through their stores in those regions.
Blue Apron also plans to open limited pop-ups in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle for a two-day period.