Fast casual expands capacity, delivery perimeter in new deal
As ghost kitchens become more popular, restaurant chains like Saladworks are starting to use them to expand their off-premises footprint. The fast casual signed a deal with REEF Technology to insert itself into a developing line of 17 “mobile ecosystem hubs.” These ghost kitchens, which can also provide pick-up orders to restaurant companies that require it, will wheel up in Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Austin, Dallas, Chicago, New York, Nashville, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
With REEF, Saladworks expands both its delivery perimeter and capacity of delivery orders. REEF opened the first hub in Philadelphia May 18, also planning to open Miami next week. Additional ghost kitchens will go online by the end of June, according to Miami-based REEF. As part of the business model, the kitchens prepare food onsite, working in tandem with third-party app delivery providers as part of the business model.
West Conshohocken, Pa.-based Saladworks’ create-your-own and signature salads, wraps and grain bowls have fueled a fast-casual chain that will add 30 new locations by the end of 2020, Executives expect a total of 50 others to be in the pipeline as 2021 begins. By tapping into REEF technology, Saladworks can expand capacity at a “fraction of the cost,” said Kelly Roddy, the chain’s chief executive.
“Among our many creative channels of growth, these mobile ecosystems enable us to share our healthy, sustainable and incredible brand with guests we might not have otherwise reached,” added Roddy. “In this age of social distancing, consumers are leaning on delivery and minimal-contact options now more than ever.”
Experts including David Henkes, senior principal at foodservice consultancy Technomic, have said that the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the expansion of ghost kitchens. Saladworks operates and franchises 100 stores in18 states and two countries.
Photo credit: REEF (featured preview image), Saladworks (inline)
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