WaBa Grill announced 2020 was the company’s best performing year, beating out 2019 which previously held the title. The brand ended its fiscal year 2020 by setting new records in Total System Sales (TSS) which were up by 3% with over 25% of all business coming from digital sales channels, compared to 4.5% in 2019. Also contributing to the strong financials were three new Southern California locations that opened in North Hollywood, Colton and Lancaster, with a chain wide total of 191 units operating in California and Arizona at year end. Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, WaBa Grill’s record-breaking sales in 2020 prove that consumer demand for healthy and affordable food served fast is at an all-time high.  

A variety of factors contributed to WaBa Grill’s success in 2020, including the unveiling of a refreshed mobile rewards app featuring a new look, additional member benefits, and an improved guest experience with a simpler menu layout and order flow. WaBa Grill also executed a FREE DELIVERY promotion in response to the pandemic on all orders placed via the WaBa Rewards App or Wabagrill.com. Implemented in March 2020 and running through January 17, 2021, the brand absorbed the delivery charge to ensure WaBa Grill remained accessible and affordable for those seeking healthy meal options. On the store level, curbside pickup was made available systemwide and brand new, easier-to-navigate menu boards were installed at every location.

“What can we say about 2020 that hasn’t already been said by everyone in the industry? Fortunately, we had systems in place prior to the pandemic that allowed for less of a learning curve for both our franchisees and guests already familiar with WaBa Grill,” says Mark Finnegan, Chief Marketing & Information Officer at WaBa Grill. “Due to the simplicity of our menu, our food is prepared quickly, and we have our packaging down to a science which served our guests and delivery drivers well for fast pickup. With updated technologies, marketing geared towards value and family, and the hard work of our dedicated franchise partners, we were able to achieve a financial performance that has the entire WaBa Grill system very excited about the future.” 

Along with many operational enhancements in 2020, WaBa Grill looked to its menu to find additional ways to bring guests some added layers of convenience and financial relief. After experiencing a tremendous guest response, several test offerings became permanent fixtures on the menu including Value-Bowl Combo Meals, a Healthy Value Menu with ten items under $5, and the availability of a Family Feast which includes food and drinks for four. A weeklong promotion with Avocados From Mexico, in celebration of National Avocado Day, where guests received a free Half-ocado™ with the purchase of any entrée was also an incremental sales driver.

For 15 years, WaBa Grill has been serving better-for-you options packed with protein, healthy grains and fresh vegetables that are prepared-to-order on an open-fire grill. Protein choices include fresh, never frozen chicken, marinated in-house ribeye steak, wild-caught salmon, jumbo shrimp and organic tofu which guests may add to any bowl, plate or salad and then customize with a variety of flavorful sauces including the fan favorite WaBa Sauce. Along with takeout and curbside pickup, guests may place orders through any of WaBa’s third-party delivery partners DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats and Postmates.

Finnegan adds, “Consumer demand for convenient, affordable and healthy options will continue to grow, and it’s a sweet spot that we’ve been perfecting for 15 years. Despite the many uncertainties brought on by 2020, our sales are evidence that there has never been a better time to invest with WaBa Grill.”

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