Lafayette-based Good Eats Kitchen, which recently expanded its healthy prepared meals business into the Baton Rouge market, has acquired Fresh Kitchen, a four-year-old local company that also sells healthy prepared meals.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Good Eats Kitchen purchased the assets at Fresh Kitchen’s two locations—Corporate Boulevard and Willow Grove—as well as most of its recipes. Good Eats Kitchen owner Boyer Derise plans to retain all of Fresh Kitchen’s employees and keep both locations in operation. The Willow Grove store is less than two miles down Perkins Road from his new Good Eats Kitchen, which opened earlier this month in the Ichiban Square shopping center at the intersection of Essen Lane and Perkins Road.
“I think there’s enough business to keep both going,” Derise says. “They’re two different demographics and the people who shop at Willow Grove probably don’t want to deal with the traffic at Essen and Perkins and vice versa.”
Derise, who founded Good Eats Kitchen in 2016 and has locations in Lafayette and Youngsville, didn’t enter the market with the intention of buying out his competition, though he did hope to expand here beyond a single location. But when Fresh Kitchen owner Ryan McNeil approached him earlier this fall to talk about exploring opportunities, he recognized there was potential.
“The target for this kind of model is economies of scale and this gets us there so it is an opportunity to get us where we need to be, though much more quickly than originally planned,” he says. “We think it’s a good investment to make.”
For his part, McNeil—who co-founded Fresh Kitchen in 2014 with chef Daniel Dreher and opened his second location in 2015—says he approached Derise to discuss a possible buyout because he feels he is at a crossroads and was considering taking his business in another direction anyway.
“His coming here was really an answer to our prayers,” McNeil says. “My wife and I just felt we were being called in another direction.”
McNeil says it’s too soon to say what exactly he might do next, but he is confident it will involve food and helping people.
“We feel we are being called to use the food to help in some sort of way so so we’re going in that direction,” he says.
The new ownership is already in effect, but the Fresh Kitchen locations will continue to operate under their old name for the next several months before being rebranded as Good Eat Kitchen some time next year.
(Note: Ryan McNeil is the son-in-law of Business Report Publisher Rolfe McCollister.)