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04/20/2021

Muscle Maker Grill Expands Use of Ghost Kitchens, Adds Virtual Brands

The brand is also piloting a mail-order meal prep service.
Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor - Restaurants
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Muscle Maker Grill is among the restaurant brands expanding its use of ghost kitchens and virtual brands.

As part of its growth strategy, Muscle Maker Grill is deploying ghost kitchens in both new stand alone and existing restaurants. For existing restaurants, Muscle Maker Grill has begun launching multiple ghost kitchen brands out of the restaurant kitchen facility to leverage excess capacity, labor, infrastructure and ingredients.

Ghost kitchens are projected to reach a $1 trillion global market by 2030, according to Euromonitor research, making them an attractive concept for operators now and in the future.  Dickey's, Wingstop, Coolgreens and even universities are partnering with ghost kitchens, to name a few.

Virtual Brand Bandwagon

 

Muscle Maker Grill is also among the restaurants looking to boost incremental revenue by adding virtual brands. Fazoli'sBrinker InternationalNathan's Famous and Chuck E. Cheese and Dog Haus have launched virtual wing brands in recent months, and comes as Americans are eating more comfort food during the pandemic. At MURTEC, Bloomin' Brands and Uncle Julio's took center stage to share how stood up their virtual brands, Tender Shack and Savage Burrito, respectively, in record time. And HOA Brands shared how it added three virtual brands from its Hooters' locations. ICYMI: all MURTEC content is now streaming on demand. 

In various locations Muscle Maker Grill has launched Burger Joe’s, a burger concept; Healthy Joe’s; Bowls Deep, a healthy bowl concept; Wrap It Up Wraps, a healthy wrap concept, Gourmet Sandwich Co and Salad Vibes.

“While none of these should be viewed as stand-alone concepts, they do add incremental revenue to the location without any significant cost additions. This helps to leverage various fixed costs in each location,” says Muscle Maker Grill in a strategic update. “We believe there is a great opportunity in ghost kitchens and the future of restaurants as consumers have changed their purchasing patterns and rely more heavily on home-delivered meals and convenience.”

Online Ordering for Home Cooks

The company announced previously an agreement with a software company called Happy Meal Prep, a web-based ordering platform supporting fresh-prepared meal prep delivery within a 250-mile radius of participating locations. The company is running the software/website out of one of its New York locations.

Now in pilot stage, Muscle Maker now has the ability to ship meals, via UPS, directly to consumer doors.

Hello, SMS!

To keep up with marketing trends, Muscle Maker Grill is moving away from its email-based marketing program to a text message-based marketing program. Consumers will opt-in to the program and receive up to six text messages per month with various offers or announcements. The program also has the added benefit of reducing monthly costs by approximately $3,000 - $4,000 per month, the company says.