Famous Dave's, the casual restaurant chain with over 140 locations, is following other chains by testing out delivery-only concepts, virtual restaurants and ghost kitchens.
As readers of this site know, takeout and delivery customers are making up an increasing portion of restaurant's bottom line. Now barbecue chain Famous Dave’s is making a big push in to the virtual restaurant industry.
According to Famous Dave’s CEO Jeff Crivello, the chain will launch a fried chicken-focused Virtual Restaurant later this year. This new virtual restaurant chain will have a different name from Famous Dave’s and will exist only on Grubhub, but the food will be prepared at Famous Dave’s locations and then delivered.
This is the first concrete step in an expansion plan the company has been studying for many months. As chief operating officer Geovannie Concepcion explains. "we have been debating two major paths: The first is offering virtual concepts within the four walls of Famous Dave’s restaurants. The second is presenting Famous Dave’s as a virtual concept of another brand."
He went on to say, “I think, because the virtual space has this low startup cost, maybe we can just focus on one food item virtually, and see how that does. I think that opens up a way for us to connect with the consumers and then solve that business issue of getting more out of our existing assets without all the really expensive equipment and other stuff that goes into launching a new concept.”
The other possible model Concepcion mentioned is the idea that Famous Dave’s could team up with a different concept and feature a Famous Dave’s branded menu out of a shared space, or operate from a non-branded kitchen, like a delivery-only spot. Although the company has recently decided against opening up in a Kitchen United ghost kitchen, it is still exploring this space.