Mobile Gourmet hopes to save families cash

(Charlotte) WBTV If you lived in Charlotte in the late 90's there is a good chance you heard of McIntosh's Steak House on South Blvd.  The popular restaurant closed in 2008, a victim of the recession.  But in that time owner Greg McIntosh came up with an idea, "Right then at that time, the economy was so difficult people were really looking for value and good food and I thought why not bring value and good food to their homes," said McIntosh.

That is how Good Kitchen, Mobile Gourmet was born.  Greg and his partner Matt Shait cook the food out of the restaurant-style kitchen at Friendship Trays, the primary Meals on Wheels program for Charlotte Mecklenburg.  Friendship Trays delivers over 700 meals to neighbors every day, but their kitchen is idle in the afternoons.  That's when Greg and his crew move in.

Here's how it works, you log onto Good Kitchen's web site, choose from an extensive menu, from 'Organic and Vegan' to 'Comfort foods' to feed a family of six, order and pay for dinner.  Prices range from 12.95 for 39.95.  "It's really simple, heat and eat and enjoy a good healthy quality meal," says McIntosh.

One of their dinners for six includes an entire turkey breast, two generous sides of butternut squash stuffing and cranberry relish for six.  McIntosh says the concept saves families on so many levels.  Busy households with two working parents and kids involved in sports can come home to a meal that simply needs heating and there is no rush to the grocery, no impulse buying and no burning of gas.  He points to fast good restaurants as an example.  If you take a family of six to sub chain, you can purchase a 12" sandwich for about five dollars.  McIntosh's turkey dinner, divided among a family of six, costs about 6.65 per person.  And the meals are cooked from as many local ingredients as his staff can find.

You have a choice of joining as a member, for $19.95 a month. That will cover four deliveries.  Or pay an $8.00 fee per delivery.

McIntosh has already built a base of regulars and they include busy families.  "The convenience it outweighing shopping and going out to dinner," he told me.

I spoke with Lani Lawrence who is Volunteer Coordinator at Friendship Trays.  She and her husband are regulars.  She loves the crab cake meal.  "Last night my plate was so pretty, I took a picture of it," Lawrence told me!

By renting the kitchen from Friendship Trays, Greg's business is also benefiting the Meals on Wheels program.  He still delivers meals for Friendship Trays on Thursdays.  He counts it as a blessing and cherishes the chance to meet and talk with the people served by Friendship Trays.  That is why, built into his business model is a donation of a portion of his company's proceeds to the Friendship Trays program above and beyond the rent he pays for the kitchen.

To learn more about how you can help by volunteering at Friendship Trays, click here.