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Chili's parent company CEO says new virtual delivery-only restaurant first of other, similar concepts

·2 min read

The future of restaurants may not be in the dining room.

As restaurants look to move past the coronavirus pandemic, some are trying out new concepts. One of the concepts is a virtual restaurant that delivers food from its own menu cooked in other restaurants’ kitchens.

Brinker International, parent company of Chili’s and Maggiano’s, discussed the concept behind It’s Just Wings during calls with investors and the media, Restaurant Business Online reports. According to him, the delivery-only restaurant is just the first of a developing portfolio of similar concepts that the company is developing.

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It’s Just Wings is reportedly already generating revenue at an annual rate that will exceed $150 million.

The delivery-only restaurant uses kitchens across various Chili’s and Maggiano’s restaurants and makes deliveries through DoorDash, MarketWatch reports.

According to the news outlet, Brinker’s Chief Executive Officer Wyman Roberts said the new company mostly used equipment that was at the restaurants and the new company only required some relatively minor purchases.

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“...We get to leverage all of the expertise we have in our restaurants, in terms of culinary ability,” he explained. “We get to leverage the equipment we already have. And things like our combi, which is a great piece of equipment that allows us to smoke our ribs, now also allows us to smoke wings and offer a differentiated product from a lot of people in the category.”

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Chili’s recently posted strong results for the second fiscal quarter, Restaurant Business Online reports. While sales were slightly down, that can likely be attributed to the coronavirus pandemic and 36% of restaurants that had at least partially reopened their dining rooms are surpassing their sales from a year ago.

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