“Leading” Meal Assembly Franchisor Make & Take Gourmet Closing Company Store

(FranchisePick.com Franchise Blog) Related stories: Make & Take Gourmet: Meal Prep Franchisor Takes Failures in Stride, Patrons of Failed Franchise Blast Make and Take Gourmet Franchisor Bellso, Meal Prep Franchisor Blames Franchisees…

What a difference two months makes!

Back in June, Make & Take Gourmet franchise founder Michele Bellso was claiming that the tiny NY meal assembly franchise company was thriving. An Unhappy Franchisee post on Make & Take Gourmet quoted Bellso’s aggressive growth plans:

Michele Bellso, founder and president of Make & Take Gourmet, says the company isn’t even close to reaching its full potential. Since May 2006, the company has grown to include 15 stores in five Northeast states, including two in Onondaga County, six in Rochester and one in Auburn, Watertown, and New Hartford.

“…We are on track to have 100 stores in three years,” Bellso says…”

Bellso implied that the recent failures of several franchise stores were due to those who “think they’ll make a million in the first year…”

In fact, said Bellso: “The only thing that may have changed for us is to make a better selection of our owners.”

Two months later, Syracuse.com reports that Michele & Dave Bellso are closing one of their two corporate stores, the Make & Take Gourmet in Fayetteville, NY. According to the story:

The 2-year-old Make & Take Gourmet storefront kitchen in Towne Center at Fayetteville will shut down, leaving the founding store in Cicero and a handful of franchises still operating.

In an e-mail blast to customers this afternoon, Make & Take Gourmet founder Michele Bellso wrote, “With rising fuel and food costs coupled with a sluggish economy, Make & Take Gourmet Fayetteville cannot stay open and continue delivering the level of quality you’ve come to expect.”

Dave Bellso blames the closure on a “troubling convergence of circumstances” that include, in his words:

  • “We had good customers out there, just not enough of them.”
  • “We just don’t have the business out there,”
  • “consumers habits have changed so much in the past three or four months.”
  • “Summer months… are typically slow in this business.”
  • “…Expenses were way too high out there.”
  • “…we had that lease, they wouldn’t change…”

According to the Make & Take Web site, there are now 12 stores. Two Onondaga County franchise locations closed within weeks of each other this past spring.

Despite the shrinking number of stores, rumors of buy-back offers extended to franchisees and pending lawsuits from failed franchise owners, the Make & Take Gourmet website continues to promote its franchise opportunity:

Thank you for your interest in a Make and Take Gourmet franchise. Meal assembly kitchens are one of the hottest trends in the food industry…

We are excited to share this exciting, proven concept with you as Make and Take Gourmet grows. Become a franchisee and discover a fabulous opportunity to be involved with a company that is focused on being the innovator and leader of the meal assembly market.

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE BELLSOS & THE MAKE & TAKE GOURMET FRANCHISE? WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MEAL PREP KITCHEN FRANCHISES? SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

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