- Wingstop CEO Charles Morrison said on Thursday that Wingstop will open its first Manhattan ghost kitchen in a few weeks. meeting with investors.
- Morrison said the company has identified 25 locations for its restaurants in Manhattan that will be a combination of traditional units and ghost kitchens. The company said it plans to open these units as soon as possible.
- Wingstop currently has 15 ghost kitchens worldwide, and Morrison said he expects this format to play an important role in the company’s growth. He said the investment in ghost kitchens is also much lower than opening a new restaurant.
Morrison said that although Wingstop has locations in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and other New York City markets, it has not yet entered Manhattan, mainly because of high real estate prices. But with costs falling, Morrison said there are now opportunities to enter this market.
“Moreover, most importantly, we wanted to make sure we had a good strategy and partnership opportunity for the expansion and delivery of the ghost kitchen,” he said. “This market is obviously extremely dense. It’s a delivery-oriented market that makes sense for us.”
The opening of ghost kitchens will support the company’s digital sales mix, which accounted for approximately 65% of sales in the second quarter. Morrison said that digital is currently expected to exceed $1.5 billion per year. Delivery also increased to 27% of sales in Q2, compared to hovering in the 20% range in Q1. Ghost kitchens can also provide a way to increase margins.
“While our brand partners enjoy best-in-class sales-to-investment rates for traditional Wingstop locations, we think rates for ghost kitchens are three to four times stronger than our traditional locations,” Morrison said.
Morrison said it will use the same playbook that the company uses in London, which also has a mix of ghost kitchens and street-side locations, adding potential also exists in Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco and the densely populated Los areas. angeles He said there’s already an open ghost kitchen in San Francisco and North Hollywood, California.
“We love the balance between street side and these ghost kitchens complementing each other and creating a brand presence,” Morrison said.
While a big part of its strategy to reach 6,000 units worldwide will be ghost kitchens, Morrison said the company doesn’t yet know what the total mix will be. Individual markets like Manhattan may have a 60-40 split between retail sites and ghost kitchens, but it’s too early to give a definitive mix, he said.
“There will be a lot of ghost kitchens in this 6,000, no doubt about it,” he said.