Chicken wing icon Wingstop plans to open its first domestic ghost kitchen in North Texas. Located in Garland near the Forest Crest neighborhood, it’s the latest addition to the brand’s 1,400+ franchise locations.
Ghost kitchens—restaurants that serve third-party delivery and takeout orders only—have been on the rise in the United States during the past few years. Wingstop joins the handful of players locally who have jumped into market, including TLC Vegan Kitchen and Zalat Pizzeria.
The move follows the chain’s rapid growth during the COVID-19 pandemic when shelter-in-place orders shuttered restaurant doors to dine-in business. Wingstop saw 33.4 percent same-store sales growth for April, after successfully adapting to delivery and takeout only.
Last year, the company’s system-wide sales grew 20.1 percent year-over-year to $1.5 billion, marking 16 straights years of same-store growth. Wingstop went public in 2015.
Its new ghost kitchen will offer its full menu delivered out of a much smaller space: At only 400 square feet, it’s just about one-fourth the size of the typical Wingstop venue, which averages 1,750 square feet.
“The team leveraged their entrepreneurial spirit to move quickly and launch Wingstop’s first domestic ghost kitchen,” said Charlie Morrison, chairman and CEO.
The brand hopes to build on its April sales numbers: Digital sales reached 65 percent of total sales, with delivery accounting for about 30 percent of that number.
“We have a goal to digitize 100 percent of transactions as we drive to become a top 10 global restaurant brand,” Morrison said. “We believe ghost kitchens are a great step for the brand as delivery and digital sales continue to increase.”
For more from Morrison, read D CEO’s recent Executive Perspectives interview.