Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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What's for dinner?

Meal planning and shopping service for workaholics
  [vote for,

This is an idea for people who need to save some time in the supermarket, in particular people who like to cook their own meals, but work long hours.

The constituent parts of this idea no doubt exist out there separately, but as far as I'm aware, nobody has successfully put them all together. Here’s how it works:

You get a daily message (SMS or email) telling you what you're having for dinner tonight. If it sounds good, you send an affirmative text back within a certain time. If not, you can ignore it and fend for yourself, or send a text asking for another suggestion. On the way home, you swing by the supermarket and a trolley is already loaded with everything you need and a printout of the recipe. At this point you have a choice: You can simply wheel it away, and your credit card is automatically debited with the correct amount; you can remove items which you may already have, and proceed to a checkout; or you can grab the cart and continue to shop as normal.

There'll be some way (e.g. a website) to set preferences such as particular dietary requirements, how many people/days in advance you want to shop for, and how much or little time you want to spend in preparing the meal. Feedback will ensure that the system 'learns' what you like and dislike, and can suggest new ideas.

At the supermarket end, they can pre-bag everything and store frozen/refrigerated items in nearby locations so that everything is just about ready to go when you arrive. If the modest cost of this service can't be absorbed into the marketing budget, there could be a small premium, and/or perhaps a system whereby one would tip the guy doing all the running around. Naturally, where the demand exists such a system could be combined with a delivery service, but the system as it stands should be feasible even in locations without that kind of market.

The advantages of all this are that you’ll get to have meals which you may not of otherwise had the time or creativity to plan, and you’ll spend a lot less time in the checkout lines.

sifiasco, Feb 06 2003


       Nice idea as it'd be nice to have more variety and try things I'd not think of on my own.
oneoffdave, Feb 06 2003

       I don't get it. Who cooks the food for you?
snarfyguy, Feb 06 2003

       You could have a "random" button on existing supermarket websites, also/instead.
my face your, Feb 06 2003

       Yeah, I got it [bliss]; I was just pointing out that people who are too busy (or lazy) to shop are likely too busy (or lazy) to cook.
snarfyguy, Feb 06 2003

       I love cooking but hate supermarkets and they are practically the only things open when I go to or from work.
oneoffdave, Feb 06 2003

       I don't think this is an idea for the lazy, just for the unimaginative. It is like the pasta serving sizer for those who don't cook pasta very often and don't know how much pasta to make. I will trust my own imagination to create meals. but I can see how this would apeal to quite a few.
ato_de, Feb 07 2003

       Actually, there was a service in the US called Peapod, in which people would enter their orders electronically and the groceries ordered would be delivered to their door. I don't know if it is still in existence.   

       Seattle Sutton goes one step further, delivering prepared meals to the houe -- simply zap and eat.
weckels, Feb 07 2003

       I like this one - I can cook 'honest' but usually either cant be arsed or dont ave the needed ingredients.. hats off to a solution provider who removes one of those variables.
witless, Feb 07 2003

       <Jinbish arrives at checkout desk with prepacked trolley/cart>
Two carrots... beep!
One tin of tomatoes... beep!
150g beef mince... beep!
1 sprig of parsley... beep!
1 individual fruit trifle... beep!

       Checkout girl looks up and smiles,
CG: "You're single aren't you?"
Jinbish: "Yeah, how'd you gue - oh , the food, well, it was in the trolley..."
CG:" No - its because you're an ugly bastard!"
Jinbish, Feb 07 2003

snarfyguy, Feb 08 2003

       I think it's a really nice idea. We already have it in México though. Not quite the same, but pretty "mucho" like it.
Pericles, Feb 10 2003

       I'll take two portions of UB's Rat's Ass recipe.
egbert, Feb 10 2003

       The Poms already have it in the bag for you... try www.leapingsalmon.com, Personnally I would like a pop up chef in my kitchen, wired into my computer, who operates all electronic appliances in the kitchen and the fridge and pantry are linked directly to a supermarket who replace stock by the most frequently used and couriered directly to you.
Ethel Murmur, Feb 10 2003

       <little whisk wearing apron and smug expression pops up on computer screen>It looks like you're trying to cook, do you want help with this feature?<little whisk..>
egbert, Feb 10 2003

       There's a shop in Victoria station (London) which sells packages of pre-prepared meal ingredients, all ready to be cooked into a fresh dinner once you get home. And many thousand commuters pass through that station each day, so I reckon they're probably doing a brisk trade.
vincebowdren, Feb 10 2003

       Well, I don't like this idea. I don't like shopping for a particular meal menu. I'd much rather go and buy what looks good in the supermarket and then make a meal out of that. Secondly, planned meals sound really boring. I'd much rather wait until I get home, look in the fridge and cook a meal based on what I've got. This idea would take a lot of the fun out of cooking, for me. Supermarkets would love it though, in the same way that they like to sell 'convenience' ready-prepared meals which offer no real added convenience above cooking a meal yourself but which people are preapred to pay a lot for.
hippo, Feb 10 2003

       on the plus side - I like it, I probably wouldnt use it unless I was pushed for time and wanted to cook something pre-set but all in all this is actually the sort of thing that would catch on.
On the other hand, I do like wandering blindly around the supermarket, shovelling whatever catches my eye into the trolley. Definitely a Croissantworthy idea though. sifiasco here is your pre-prepared menu for this evening

1 Croissant, 1 Serving Butter, 1 helping of Jam (Strawberry) - Enjoy!
The_Englishman_Abroad, Feb 10 2003

       As with all ideas of merit, there will be pros and cons, but I can see this working. I know there have been many times when I am in the grocery store and something catches my eye so I race around grabbing all the ingredients I think I need, only to arrive in my kitchen and find I am fresh out of the essential tablespoon of whatever that makes the dish. And I like that it would save me that 20 minutes of circling the aisles and 10 minutes (or so it seems) in line so I can get cooking sooner (yum!).   

       Pick up your croissant at the drive-thru window. You too, Jinbish, for making me guffaw out loud.
Canuck, Feb 12 2003


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