Let’s start with late-night business. Krystal has enjoyed a rampant fanbase in this segment for decades. In 2018, delivery sales soared for Krystal’s sweetest daypart. Roughly 50 percent of third-party delivery business occurred after 10 p.m., and 75 percent took place post-4 p.m. In both cases, average check increased significantly. Guests ordering large orders via delivery? Far more frequent than walking in and waiting at 2 a.m.
Delivery is a leading reason late-night sales boomed 8 percent last year, Macaluso says. The chain even had a late-night themed ad that generated north of 1.2 million page views. Krystal saw the demand and it did something about it.
“We started playing to our strengths in terms of how we marketed that business,” Macaluso said. “How we also designed the menu.”
Krystal presented more of its larger packs, what it calls “multiples.” Options that allow for quick and easy purchase of sackfulls and steamer packs—options likely to be picked by late-night guests.
As the sales volume flooded in, Krystal staffed up. Macaluso says some locations doubled their sales after 10 p.m. and simply needed more employees. A good problem to have, although it wasn’t always easy to satisfy. Finding employees who work late into the morning aren’t as painless to find, but Krystal’s small-market strategy eased the task somewhat (more on this shortly).
Krystal also expanded the hours of operation in certain markets. It took some stores 24/7 that weren’t before. Others went what Krystal calls “24/2,” which means they’re open 24 hours on Friday and Saturdays.
Krystal plans to add an additional 60 restaurants into its delivery base in 2019. The economics make sense. Macaluso says they’ve found the business “very incremental,” and, of its five dayparts, late-night was the top performer, in terms of year-over-year growth, in 2018. “We definitely know that’s something we’ve got to put more emphasis behind it in 2019,” he says.