As Brisco, Moon, and the development team sign deals, they’re offering franchisees a suite of flexible options that don’t handcuff them to a certain piece of real estate. Hummel notes the past eight openings have resulted in “tremendous” AUVs, and he attributes that to the vision of Chief Development Officer Michael Locey, Senior Director of Design and Development Paul Stevens, and Director of Construction Robert Pulley. Each collaborate to analyze what older stores provided guests, and where they missed opportunities.
Twin Peaks is able to capitalize on those missed opportunities with new builds, but the chain is also flexible enough to take on many second-generation buildings that didn’t make it to market or died off because of age.
“When you think about the lodge itself, no lodge is really the same wherever you go out and about in the mountains looking at different lodges,” Hummel says. “That's our approach with our buildings. We have a prototype. We maximize space, outdoor space, indoor/outdoor bars. Obviously many, many TVs anywhere from 65-75 inches to 205 inches. Our partners down in Bryan, Texas, just put in a 205-inch TV. So always playing with the design.”
Sales certainly aren’t impeding growth. The chain saw positive same-store sales in its fiscal 2020 year-over-year, and in the current quarter, comps are double-digit positive against 2019. Additionally, off-premises rose from a nominal amount pre-pandemic to 5 to 7 percent of sales. Hummel acknowledges the off-premises mix isn’t as high as other casual-dining chains, but he’s happy with the lift and knows Twin Peaks will always be an experiential on-premises brand first and foremost.
That’s why onlookers shouldn’t expect future growth efforts to focus heavily on ghost kitchens or virtual brands. With Twin Peaks spending so much time on the in-store atmosphere, restaurant kitchens are busy and don’t have excess space or downtime to cook additional brands for delivery. However, that doesn’t mean the brand will completely remove itself from the discussion. Hummel says the brand has tested some virtual brands in the Dallas-Forth Worth market and the results have been pleasing. The CEO believes the delivery-only concepts could potentially result in a bump in sales, but he’s very cautious about making sure kitchens aren’t overwhelmed and that the on-premises guest comes first.
“We'll continue to explore, play with it, utilize it, where we have some opportunities,” Hummel says. “Maybe there's some gaps in the day that we can fill in, but our primary focus is Twin Peaks and that guest that comes in on a daily basis. And then supply chain is always fun to deal with, and we want to make sure the Twin Peaks brand has the proper supply chain. … The supply chain has been challenging for everybody over the last three to six months, and we want to make sure our supply chains stay focused on the Twin Peaks guest and not a one-off virtual brand that doesn't have a huge brand affinity like ours.”