The biggest underlying factor to success, Bales says, is perpetual innovation, including several menu updates. When the chicken sandwich wars heated up between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A, WNB introduced its own version called the “Not Closed on Sunday” Chicken Sandwich, which features hand-breaded chicken tenders, proprietary house sauce, and dill pickles on a brioche bun.
More recently the brand rolled out the Big Texas burger, comprising double certified Angus beef patties, American and cheddar cheeses, charred jalapeños, crispy fried onions, house sauce, and pickles. It can be served with a brioche, wheat, or pretzel bun, or no bun at all. The product was designed to kick off in Texas, but WNB liked it so much that it's spreading systemwide. In terms of beverages, some stores like Carrollton, Texas, offer craft beers and wine, which Bales refers to as the WNB+ model.
From an operational standpoint, the chain revamped its online ordering and POS capabilities six months ago to better facilitate takeout and delivery, with DoorDash serving as the primary partner. In June, WNB earned $700,000 in off-premises sales, but that has since grown to more than $850,000. Year-over-year, the channel has increased roughly 71 percent.
“We're trying to definitely streamline that because we see such a big increase in that part of our business,” Bales says. “I don't anticipate that ever going away now. I think everybody is accustomed to fast, and they want to be able to get in and get out, if that's what they're doing, and just grab it and go. We're going to continue to embrace that.”
WNB will look to incorporate those digital upgrades into future store designs. Bales says the brand is exploring a new company-run site in Covington, Georgia, that includes designated parking spaces for delivery drivers and to-go customers and a separate entrance for easy pickup. The store will also feature an open-style kitchen, additional patio seating, and more TVs.
“We just continue to want to try to innovate with those new ideas to keep customers engaged, looking at us, and trying something different,” Bales says.