Rib Crib, a 32-unit barbecue chain with a full-service format, will test its concept in a co-branded unit with KFC. The unit will be built in a 6,000 square foot KFC 2n1 prototype building along Interstate Highway 44 in Marshfield, Missouri. The operator of the 2n1 unit will be Bold Ribs Company, LLC, a 6-unit Rib Crib franchisee, and Restaurant Management Systems, a 33-unit Yum! Brands operator. Mike Treadwell and Dick Pendleton of Springfield, Missouri, own and operate both franchisee companies.
Franchisees Treadwell and Pendleton initially came up with the idea for a test pairing of the barbecue and chicken concepts. "It is the perfect picnic pairing," said Dick Pendleton in his initial meeting with the Rib Crib corporate team. At the time, Treadwell wanted to replace their existing 20-plus year old Marshfield KFC with the new KFC 2n1 prototype building and re-locate it to the location along Interstate 44, but there was not a YUM! Branded concept available for a co-branded unit in Marshfield.
Treadwell, a more than 25-year veteran of KFC, and the Bold Ribs team put together a three-dimensional rendering of the proposed concept to give the YUM! co-branding personnel a vision of how the pairing would look. The co-branding team then visited Rib Crib units and were suitably impressed -- enough so to eventually earn approval for the barbecue and fried chicken 2n1.
Rib Crib is traditionally a full service concept, but the 2n1 will employ a fast-casual style counter service format. Customers will place their orders at the counter by choosing from a backlit menu board that hangs above the order counter and then wait for servers to deliver it to them in the dining room. Both concepts will also offer take-out service. Rib Crib will feature a dedicated take-out counter along with exterior and interior signage to guide customers to the take out counter and dedicated "Take Out" parking spaces immediately adjacent to the exterior portion of the building dressed out like a Rib Crib. KFC will also offer traditional drive-thru service.
"We remain committed to the continued development of our concept as a casual-dining restaurant," said Marc Chastain, vice president of franchising for Rib Crib, "but we think there could be tremendous opportunities for us to grow our revenue base and brand awareness in smaller co-branded venues. Especially in markets like Marshfield that probably do not carry the demographic base to support our full-size concept. We might also attract quick-serve operators looking for a way to boost sales through co-branding with our concept."