KANSAS CITY — As the coronavirus continues to keep consumers quarantined across the country, the foodservice industry is innovating to meet the needs of sheltering families. Restaurants are launching family meal bundles and meal kits to alleviate the stress of meal prep and encourage family time.

Chick-fil-A is introducing Family Meals meal solutions designed to serve four people. Customers may build their own bundles by mixing and matching eight different menu items, including such offerings as chicken nuggets, chicken sandwiches, waffles fries, macaroni and cheese and sweetened iced tea.

“At Chick-fil-A, we’re always looking for new ways to care for our guests, particularly during this time,” said Katie Nikitin, digital content strategist for Chick-fil-A. “As families balance work, school and other obligations from the comfort (or chaos) of home, we want to help check lunch or dinner off of the to-do list.”

Einstein Bros. Bagels is launching Family Meals, which help feed large groups for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Among the options are a brunch kit, a pizza bagel kit and a bagel deli kit.

“As more consumers continue to work from home and schools remain temporarily closed, we know that families are spending a lot of time together, and we want to make sure they make the most of it,” said Chad Thompson,  vice president of culinary innovation for Einstein Bros. Bagels. “Our three Family Meals provide a good reason for everyone to gather around the kitchen table and enjoy a great meal together.”

Friendly’s Restaurants are offering the Family Ice Cream Sundae Kit, available through takeout and delivery. The kit, which Friendly’s said is a response to “families’ needs for hands-on activities as well as a rise in demand for ice cream,” includes a carton of ice cream in the customer’s choice of flavor, three toppings, whipped toppings and cups and cones for serving.

“Amid the uncertainty we’re all facing, something so simple as a make-your-own ice cream sundae can bring additional comfort and a sense of hope.” — Dennis Pfaff, FIC Restaurants Inc.

“With homebound families looking for ways to keep kids entertained and elevate moods, we thought, how else can we bring our unique restaurant experience to families at home?” said Dennis Pfaff, chief operating officer of Friendly’s parent company FIC Restaurants Inc. “Amid the uncertainty we’re all facing, something so simple as a make-your-own ice cream sundae can bring additional comfort and a sense of hope.”

Denny’s is debuting Shareable Family Packs that serve four to five people and are available with contact-less delivery or by pick up. Options include the Grand Slam Pack, Build Your Own Cheeseburger Pack, Premium Chicken Tenders Pack, Side Pack and Beverage Pack.

“While we are all navigating together through this challenging time, whether it be for a weekend brunch, a mid-day meal or a family dinner, it's our hope that Denny's can provide the comfort of a safe, made-to-order meal that pleases everybody in the family, and plays one small part in our belief that we'll all come out of this stronger with a deeper connection with our families and communities than ever before," said John Dillon, chief brand officer for Denny's.

Zaxby’s is offering new Zax Family Packs created to feed four people and “specifically designed to meet the needs of families sheltering at home,” the restaurant said. The packs include 20 chicken fingers or 30 boneless wings with crinkle fries, Texas toast and dipping sauces.

“Now more than ever, we're all family." — Zach McLeroy, Zaxby's

“We wanted to create an affordable meal featuring our signature menu items for families during these challenging times,” said Zach McLeroy, chief executive officer and co-founder of Zaxby’s. “Zaxby's is always focused on bringing people together with flavorful comfort food made with uncompromising quality. Now more than ever, we're all family. Zaxby's has been serving up premium chicken fingers and wings for 30 years. We want our guests to know we're here for you now, and we're not going anywhere. We'll weather this storm together and come through it stronger than ever.”

Some foodservice providers are offering pantry staples such as meat and bread for consumers struggling to find what they need at grocery stores or for those who want to avoid them altogether.

California Pizza Kitchen is launching CPK Market, a new platform that provides specialty meal kit solutions and individual pantry, fruit, vegetable and meat items to customers from its restaurant locations nationwide.

“With food access currently top-of-mind for us all, we wanted to find new and creative at-home cooking solutions to ensure our guests and the communities in which we serve have as many high-quality fare options as possible,” said Ashley Ceraolo, senior vice president of marketing at California Pizza Kitchen. “Given the entire country is dining differently and family mealtime is more important than ever, establishing a concept where guests could confidently purchase affordable produce, meat, and other essential pantry items was the best way we felt we could attend to immediate needs while still doing what we do best — serving our customers the most delicious food options available. Each and every item from CPK Market shares the same quality ingredients as our legendary California-inspired menu and is still carefully prepared by our expertly-trained chefs before being personally collected and bagged by a CPK team member for all of our guests — a quick, convenient, and affordable way to obtain your meal-prep and pantry must-haves in a crowd-free environment with much less contact than one would experience at a grocery store.”

Texas Roadhouse is getting its steaks to more people while simultaneously filling in where grocery stores may be out of stock or experiencing meat shortages. The steak chain is selling ready-to-grill steaks to the public, including ribeyes, strips, sirloins, medallions, T-bones and filets.

Jimmy John’s is introducing Freaky Fresh Bread on Demand, which allows consumers to purchase loaves of French bread for delivery or pickup.

“Jimmy John’s wants to help our neighbors across the country by making it easier to get daily necessities like freshly-baked bread.” 
— Darin Dugan, Jimmy John’s

“Jimmy John’s wants to help our neighbors across the country by making it easier to get daily necessities like freshly-baked bread,” said Darin Dugan, chief marketing officer for Jimmy John’s. “Available across the country immediately, we will be offering  Freaky Fresh Bread on Demand: freshly baked bread delivered to our guests any way they want it —  curbside pickup, drive-thru, or contactless delivery to their door.”

Moe’s Southwest Grill is introducing Moe’s Market, a new platform where consumers may purchase pantry staples for pickup or delivery. Moe’s Market offers: 3 to 5 lbs of white meat chicken, adobo chicken, steak, pork or ground beef; and a la carte dishes such as rice, beans, salsa, queso, guacamole, cheese, chips, chipotle ranch sauce and tortillas.

View slideshow of recent restaurant offering innovation amid the coronavirus pandemic.