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Wingstop opens first ghost kitchen in Manhattan

Times Square location marks start of blended expansion of traditional, non-traditional locations

Wingstop opened a ghost kitchen in Manhattan in Times Square, marking the first such location on the island. In July, executives had announced a strategy to penetrate the market with a combination of traditional brick-and-mortar locations and non-traditional ghost kitchens. According to Wingstop’s development pipeline, 20 additional locations will open in the next few years.

Through its virtual-kitchen expansion in Manhattan, the fast-casual chain can utilize reduced investment for greater returns, selecting locations that offer reduced real estate costs. Wingstop noted the unit economics of stores are best in class.

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The ghost-kitchen experience in the UK in June of last year has provided Wingstop with “promising results,” the chicken wing chain revealed. Ghost kitchens are allowing entry into areas with high real estate costs or lower retail-space inventory.

The Dallas-based chain will use its success in the UK as a launching point for using cloud kitchens to penetrate and expand in other markets beyond Manhattan, including San Francisco, where the chain only has one small, high street presence and one ghost kitchen.

Wingstop operates and franchises 1,673 locations globally.

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