The company is one of several chains opting for prototypes with smaller footprints and an emphasis on to-go sales. For example, Perkins Restaurant & Bakery partnered with design firm Louis + Partners to shrink its prototype to 4,100 square feet and constructed it in a way that leverages the growing takeout and delivery business. Renderings of the design showcase pickup lockers and a mobile order window. Additionally, IHOP is not only about to start testing a smaller version of its traditional store, but it's also preparing to debut spin-off fast-casual Flip'd by IHOP, which will take into account all of the lessons learned during COVID.
Smokey Bones was ahead of the curve in terms of the industry's rapid acceleration toward off-premises. The chain launched its virtual concepts in 2019 and opened a ghost kitchen only a few weeks after the first round of COVID shutdowns began in spring 2020. The brand now has ghost kitchens in Columbus, Ohio, and Chicago, which helped grow reach and awareness despite the restaurant scaling back marketing and paid media, according to CEO James O'Reilly.
“The approval of these two new restaurants, two new ghost kitchens and the success of our virtual brands underpin the growing momentum of this great company,” O’Reilly said in a statement. “We have added a highly experienced management team, transformed our culture, introduced a compelling new brand positioning, focused and improved our menu, rebuilt our technology platforms, improved our operations, and we’re just getting started.”