In December, taim released a new restaurant design that switched the brand from a darker, colder feel to brighter colors and textures, reminiscent of what travelers would encounter throughout the Mediterranean region. Locations are mostly urban and between 300 to 1,000 square feet, but with this new look, taim will put a bigger emphasis on the suburbs with 1,600-1,800 square feet.
Additionally, the brand plans to open its first airport locations in the summer to provide on-the-go customers with food that’s “quick and isn't going to put them into a food coma before they have to travel for the next five to six hours.” The chain allows guests to customize, with either a bowl, pita, or salad as the base. Petrilli says taim is capable of reaching 100 units throughout the Washington, D.C., and Tri-State markets.
Hot Chicken Takeover stores are usually around 2,000 square feet with more dine-in business than taim. It also translates well to nontraditional outlets, with stations in Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio, the home of MLS franchise the Columbus Crew, and Ohio Stadium, which houses Ohio State’s football team.
Petrilli views it as a brand fit for franchising because of its simple operations and menu; guests can choose among tenders, thighs, drumsticks, wings, boneless, sandwiches, nuggets, or the whole bird, along with only four sides. The CEO also notes, “there's no place in the United States that fried chicken doesn't work, but there's plenty of places in the United States that we, as the ownership team, are not going to be able to get to any time soon." The idea is to have franchise infrastructure in place before 2023 ends. Untamed would continue to open company-owned locations while franchising kicked off. Petrilli believes there’s room for 80-100 Hot Chicken Takeover units inside Ohio’s borders, let alone new markets.
One of the biggest learnings for Untamed has been deciding what to homogenize among multiple brands and what to keep separate. The company spent most of 2021 determining the ideal tech stack for taim in terms of POS, online ordering, labor management, and food management and making sure these platforms could talk to each other. And one of the first things Untamed did when it acquired Hot Chicken Takeover was to implement these same tools.
“There's things like supply chain and purchasing that you begin to move over and insurance and all the boring stuff that people don't really want to think about,” Petrilli says. “But the beauty of the boring stuff is that you find significant dollars when you are able to overnight have a level of economy of scale that affords you more purchasing power and competitive power. And then you turn those dollars back into investing in better real estate, better benefits for people, higher quality ingredients—those types of things that propel these brands and businesses forward.”
Petrilli thinks Untamed can go far with taim and Hot Chicken Takeover, but the company’s original quest was to own more than two. A portfolio of three to four concepts within the next five years is the ideal range. Petrilli is attracted to the drive-thru coffee segment because of its smaller square footage yet high throughput, and the Mexican fast-casual category.
The next chains also have to match geographically. Untamed isn’t interested in owning another chain based in New York or Ohio. If it's the right brand that shows all the right characteristics and the right size and in the right place in the U.S., Untamed will explore it.
“We'll almost take a look at anything because the part of the beauty of this multi-brand strategy is that none of these brands in and of themselves have to be able to get to thousands of locations for this to become a really meaningful and positively impacting company,” Petrilli says. “So if there's somebody out there doing something really unique that's demonstrating that a lot of people are digging it, loving it, we'd love to take a closer look at what's going on in those businesses today too.”