For instance, Kinseth Hospitality Companies, which directs 75-plus hotels, also runs Bennigan’s locations in Iowa. The idea struck to start using some of the restaurant’s product inside other properties, without building additional Bennigan’s locations.
They inked a licensing agreement to debut two virtual kitchens under the “Bennigan’s On The Fly” banner in Coralville and Dubuque. Kinseth will offer Bennigan’s On The Fly for delivery, and to its guests, in two of its hotels. They’re expected to be up and running sometime in February.
Mangiamele says Legendary Brands is also in talks with Entegra, a subsidiary of Sodexo, to potentially explore “thousands of properties.”
Bennigan’s “On The Fly” concept has the ability to emerge across multiple iterations, like a virtual kitchen in Beaumont, Texas. An operator forced to close decided to turn their space into a ghost kitchen.
Mangiamele says venues nationwide, especially hotels with gigantic kitchens and space, can bolt on a Bennigan’s opportunity. These companies can add the chain’s well-known product line to existing spaces, in other terms.
And then Bennigan’s can work with the concept’s point-of-sale system so there’s a commission on the sale of the product. It’s similar to what Nathan’s, Wow Bao, and some other restaurant chains are trying. Essentially, giving other restaurants (or hotels) the chance to start serving their branded products out of current kitchens. Whether that’s visible upfront or not, for delivery or dine-in. Either way, Bennigan’s broadens reach without opening another physical store. Think of it like Chili’s launching 1,000-plus “It’s Just Wings” out of its existing restaurants. Only here, Bennigan’s is doing so from the kitchens of different restaurants and companies.
The other option is the more common path, where Bennigan’s On The Fly opens a virtual kitchen that’s just its brand.
Sometimes it’s Bennigan’s On The Fly specific, and sometimes it’s an incremental addition to a virtual kitchen already operating where they feature the food.
Mangiamele says both present growth potential for existing operators hoping to diversify, as well as new strategic partnerships. Again, the idea of, say, an independent restaurant, starting to serve Bennigan’s from its kitchen.
“You can see the upside,” Mangiamele says. “It’s why I’m still very bullish and ebullient about the future for us, because I can take bits and pieces. It’s not always a brick-and-mortar solution.”