OWINGS MILLS, MD., March 31, 2021—CulinArt Dining Services at T. Rowe Price is now providing take-home dinner meal kits, special holiday meals, and groceries as part of an effort to promote social distancing, provide more convenience to associates, and boost volume in response to a remote-work option.
The offerings are available at the company’s locations in Owings Mills, Md., Baltimore, and Colorado Springs, Colo. Five dinner kits are currently available, comprising center-of-plate proteins (such as Herb Roasted Turkey Breast or Vegetable and Cheese Lasagna), side dishes, and desserts. Most popular are the Chimichurri Flank Steak and Rotisserie Chicken Dinners. There is even a kit for children consisting of pasta and meat sauce, broccoli, garlic bread, and chocolate chip cookies.
Sales were slow at first, says John Scheeler, director of dining services, as some T. Rowe Price associates started coming back to work on-site in late summer. A marketing campaign launched on the client’s intranet gave sales a big boost, as did promotional signage in the dining centers and the selling efforts of café managers.
The customers at T. Rowe Price are a fairly captive audience, so a key focus for the team is marketing the ability of the Nutrislice app to provide associates with just about any meal requirement they may have, whether it is at work or at home. Associates order the meal kits through Nutrislice, a contactless menu and ordering app used throughout the T. Rowe Price campus, along with lunch meals as well as groceries-to-go. Use of Nutrislice helps promote social distancing in the cafés and proved to be the catalyst needed to jump-start the dinner program. “We are doing well each week in sales and we are getting stronger as more associates return to campus,” Scheeler explains.
To promote the meals, the team made a video about how to order the dinner kits and reheat them. The video portrays items included in the dinner kits which feature instructions on how to reheat the meals at home. Starring Executive Chef Mashaye Barr and Catering Manager Miri DeMastus, the video also gives a quick demo of how to prepare the meal.
The meal kits come in 12-inch-square boxes including all items individually wrapped and a marketing flyer. “This really allows the associates to have a one-stop shop while at work,” Scheeler says.
The operation has also been offering a variety of chef-prepared meal packages to help associates celebrate holidays with family and loved ones. For this past Christmas, packages included entrees (e.g., Spiced Sliced Honey Glazed Ham), sides (stuffing, sweet potatoes, salads, etc.), and pie (apple, pecan, pumpkin). “We are also selling the items a la carte, if someone just wants to get their favorite holiday dish,” Scheele adds. Take-home packages were also prepared New Year’s Eve (appetizers) and Valentine’s Day (a five-course menu for two complete with roses).
Retail items available through the operation’s On the Go Groceries program include fresh produce, assorted salads, lunch meats and cheeses, pasta, sauce, and—given the popularity of such items during the pandemic—paper towels and toilet paper. “This is a newer offering we have added for our client and it just starting to take off,” Scheeler says. “We get a lot of folks asking about the composed salads and the produce.”
The dinner meal kits, holiday packages, and groceries help associates in the social distancing effort and make it easy and convenient to participate in dining services. All programs “help associates feel better about coming back to campus,” Scheeler says. “They can order their lunch for the day with the Nutrislice app, and, at the same time, they can order a dinner kit to take home to feed their family—and any extra groceries they need for the home.”