Restaurant Industry News Roundup: July 2019
This month’s industry news is a buffet of information. Our international options include Pret A Manger joining Deliveroo and Popeyes heading to China. For local fare, we have more news about ghost kitchens and examples of restaurants that stand out in a saturated industry. Feel free to grab several plates for this roundup serving and dig in!
Pret A Manger in Exclusive Tie-Up with Deliveroo
According to an announcement from Deliveroo, Pret A Manger will exclusively join the delivery service. To celebrate, both companies have been giving away thousands of free treats throughout July via Roobus to customers around the UK. Right now, 120 of its sites are operating exclusively with Deliveroo, and the rest will follow throughout 2019. Pret A Manger and Deliveroo’s first stop was London Westfield on July 19 and then Liverpool on July 28.
Head of e-commerce for Pret A Manger, Lucy Revill-Darton, this partnership allows Pret more exposure to customers in the UK. Not only can loyal customers enjoy their menu favorites, but the menu “can travel directly from shop kitchens to the customers, so the freshly prepared food is also freshly delivered.” Depending on their location, Deliveroo customers can order Pret in the morning until 8 pm.
Will China ‘Love That Chicken’ From Popeyes? It’s Going To Find Out
Popeyes is heading to China, according to an announcement from Restaurant Brands International (RBI). RBI made a deal with TFI TAB Food Investments (TFI) to develop 1,500 Popeyes outlets in China over a decade. When RBI purchased Popeyes in 2017 with the goal of worldwide expansion. This move for Popeyes puts it into more direct competition with KFC, that has been in China for decades with over 5,000 stores. In the past year, the number of Popeyes stores have increased by 6.6%. RBI is “very excited to grow the Popeyes brand in the Chinese market,” according to RBI CEO, Josh Kobza.
FAT Brands to Expand via Ghost Kitchens, CEO Says
FAT Brands is steadily chugging ahead in its efforts to continue to expand. According to President and CEO Andy Wiederhorn, the brand wants to “offer our brands everywhere we can,” and it doesn’t necessarily need to be through a “brick-and-mortar location.” Co-branding, which contains Fatburger and Buffalo Express restaurants together in the same building, drives 20% to 30% increase in average unit volume comparatively with traditional stores.
Virtual Fatburger locations would ideally cut real estate costs through only being based out of the back of the host restaurants and only appear as an option on customer’s mobile delivery apps. Based on Fast Company’s research, a new menu item trial would cost a traditional restaurant about $800,000. However, in a ghost restaurant setting the trial would only cost $25,000. An example of a successful ghost kitchen endeavor is Wetzel’s Pretzels, which reports delivery sales are higher than in-store purchases by 75%.
Ghost kitchens aren’t a scary concept. We’ve written a blog about it to add some context to this topic.
4 Sure-Fire Differentiators for Winning Restaurant Brands
In general, the restaurant industry is very saturated, specifically in fast-casual. Since competition is appearing every month, restaurants are advised to have a unique quality to make them stand out from the rest. When it comes to these differentiators, examples include late-night hours or classes. These four brands have become examples of finding that unique factor to drive business and increase traffic.
- Curry Up Now/Mortar & Pestle: These concepts share a physical space, but they’re two separate brands. They have combined fast casual options with a bar option. Mortar & Pestle offers a selection of bar options, however, Curry Up Now diners can order from the Mortar & Pestle menu and Mortar & Pestle diners can order from the Curry Up Now menu. Co-founder and CEO, Akash Kapoor says, “think about how different the two concepts are, yet they work very well without confusing people.”
- Graze & Gather: This fast-casual concept encourages employees to spend hours in the restaurant while they work. Even though it’s a relatively new company, they are modeling their business concept after examples like WeWork.
- Woops!: This brand has incorporated on-site workshops resulting from an influx of customer questions about learning to make macarons. Woops! also hosts community events, including an Easter-themed class. In this class, participants would make a macaron. Woops! has created bakeshops and kiosks across the country. It allows people to create gifts for other people and allows Woops! to focus on interactive activities and community engagement.
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About the Author
Devyn Nance is the Marketing Coordinator at QSR Automations. She graduated from the University of Louisville with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and from Loyola University Chicago with a master’s degree in Global Strategic Communication. She considers herself an (amateur) profiler – trained solely from watching every episode of Criminal Minds. Outside of work, Devyn loves to shop, travel, hang out with friends and family, read, and watch shows on various streaming platforms.