Atlanta - Former AFC Enterprises Inc. senior vice president Donna Lynes-Miller is the managing partner and founder of GourmetStation.com. This is a "virtual restaurant" venture whose objective is to make a market in chef-quality prepared foods that can be ordered at any time via the Internet.
Launched in May, GourmetStation.com initially is focusing on the Atlanta market and has secured discounted overnight shipping rates for customers there. GourmetStation.com officials said plans call for expanding into other markets as soon as shipping discounts can be arranged.
Though the company now is willing to send its products to anywhere in the United States, the cost of shipping to far-flung regions, including the West Coast, can approximate the $49.99 price tag of the four-course dinners for two sold at the Web site.
Lynes-Miller indicated that GourmetStatioin.com is targeting busy professionals who want high-end restaurant-style foods at home for personal consumption or entertainment purposes or want to give such an experience to others as a gift.
"We wanted to satisfy demand for both exotic chef-quality dinners and the convenience of delivery," she explained in a prepared statement.
Before starting up GourmetStation.com, Lynes-Miller held a number of different posts at AFC, including senior vice president of product development for the Popeyes' brand. She also was the founder and president of the national purchasing cooperative for Popeyes and Church's, and for eight years, she served as president of the Arby's restaurants' purchasing cooperative.
GourmetStation.com users can create meals from four international lines of foods - Parisian, Italian, Baja, and Asian - created by executive chef and partner Patrick Menger. Menger, who has an associate of arts degree from Atlanta's School of Culinary Arts, previously worked as a sous chef at two well-known Atlanta restaurants, Nikolai's Roof and The Atlanta Athletic Club's Merion Room.
Menger's recent main-course menu included salmon en Croute with lemon-herb sauce, chicken Wellington with morel and cognac sauce, seafood manicotti in fradiavalo sauce, Loma Grande shredded-beef brisket tamales and seasoned Peking duck with peanut king pao vegetables.
Included with each meal is artisan bread for two, such as a Rosemary round or Parmesan - bacon boule; two soups, such as cream of tomato-basil and corn-and-green-chile bisque; two entrees; two accompaniments, such as creamy spinach and artichokes or ginger yams and apples; specialty coffee; and dessert for two. Amaretto cheesecake and cinnamon-walnut cookies recently were offered as desserts.
The meals sold at GourmetStation.com are fully cooked, deep chilled and shipped in sealed but reusable coolers with date bands to alert customers to shipping delays and possible food-quality problems. Each meal comes with a floating candle and napkins for ambience and temperature probes to ensure foods are reheated correctly, a process that GourmetStation.com sources said typically takes about 30 minutes.
Deliveries are made Tuesday through Friday, and if orders are received before 3 p.m., they can be delivered the next day. Foods from GourmetStation.com can be refrigerated for a day following delivery with no noticeable impact on quality, so