Muscle Maker Grill, Inc.m the parent company of Muscle Maker Grill & Healthy Joe’s, a fast-casual concept known for serving “healthier for you” meals, today announced that it has begun the construction phase at two of its five new delivery-only ghost kitchens to open in the downtown Chicago market. Both of the new delivery-only ghost kitchens are slated to open in early summer with the remaining three Chicago locations to follow soon after. The kitchens will feature menu items from both Muscle Maker Grill and Healthy Joe’s, a new brand that showcases oven toasted subs, hot topped salads and bowls. Healthy Joe’s fast-casual restaurant launched in Tribeca in November of 2019.
Food delivery has grown into a significant industry and management expects the growth to continue as restaurants pivot in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the popularity of delivery-only ghost kitchens. Muscle Maker Grill signed a ten-location agreement with a major delivery-only kitchen provider earlier this year, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Company intends to increase its delivery-only ghost kitchen footprint in key major metropolitan markets as part of its non-traditional growth plans. The low cost of entry, reduced overhead, and quick buildouts are key factors in Muscle Maker’s strategy to open these non-traditional locations. In addition to ghost kitchens, non-traditional opportunities for the brand include colleges, military bases, airports and medical centers. Muscle Maker recently opened its sixth military location at Camp Elmore in March.
The technology required to support the ghost kitchens includes point of sale, inventory management and third-party avenues for guests to place their contactless orders. Ghost kitchens allow Muscle Maker more flexibility; the brand can quickly update menus and offerings to meet the swiftly changing needs and demand of the market.
Mike Roper, CEO of Muscle Maker Grill, says, “Delivery-only ghost kitchens are an excellent opportunity for Muscle Maker Grill and Healthy Joe’s; especially, in light of the heightened delivery focused climate. Everybody is ordering take-out via various delivery mediums, even my 80-year-old mother has third-party delivery figured out! We’re looking forward to launching in the downtown Chicago market and fulfilling the growing delivery demand. The two locations, once opened, will not only provide jobs in the Chicago market, but will also accommodate the practice of social distancing that is expected to remain in effect, even after restrictions are lifted. The dual brand collaboration in the ghost kitchen space allows flexibility in the way we operate and will provide a wide array of flavor profiles and unique offerings that we know guests will love. The technology associated with ghost kitchens will give us access to vital data that allows us to be nimble and shift the business to accommodate growing trends to increase sales and reduce waste.”