While Jack in the Box continues to innovate its products, it also plans to serve said products in a more efficient manner. The goal is to reduce speed of service by one minute by 2021, which began with the hiring of Chief Operating Officer Marcus Tom two years ago. For example, Comma said, the brand found better ways to maintain protein at a high quality so that operators aren’t rushing through the just-in-time cooking and preparation process. The CEO said it adds ease to operations.
He noted that the higher increase in corporate comp sales is related to those stores being early adopters of the changes.
“They're helping them to operate a little faster and generate some throughput through their drive thru,” Comma said. “And I think that it's given us optimism about our franchisees following behind and making some of the same improvement.”
The brand also continues to investment in digital and delivery. Mobile pay is still a low percentage of sales, but Comma noted that users and transactions grow with each quarter. More than 95 percent of stores are partnered with at least one third-party delivery company. Jack in the Box completed the integration of Grubhub into its point-of-sales system and is working on doing the same for third parties, as well.
The chain expects system-wide same-store sales growth of between 1.5 to 3 percent in fiscal year 2020 and the opening of 25 to 35 new restaurants, most of which will be franchised.
Comma declined to share specifics about product launches in the coming year, but he showed excitement for what Jack in the Box has planned.
“Part of the optimism we have around our guidance for this year has to do with that,” Comma said. “We spoke about that a little bit at the end of Q4 as folks were wondering about the Q1 results. We spoke about looking at the entire year and our optimism around all the initiatives, including the new products that are going to be rolled out as contributing to that. So we still feel strongly about it. We'll move forward with some of the things we mentioned in the past. The timing is still to be determined as those tests conclude, but we're pretty optimistic about what we've got planned.”