Concept Entertainment Group Founders John Plew and VP of Food and Beverage and Executive Chef Keith Castro had a winning idea: create an online food hall concept where customers could pick and choose from a variety of cuisines in one order, for delivery or at some locations, curbside pickup.
One Stop, Several Options
Central Kitchen includes the virtual brands Southern Jewel, Soy Joy, Killer Wings, Pizza & Spice, BYOBurgers and Tortilla Sunrise — and are integrated into Thirsty Lion’s idle kitchens and leverage the marketing power of third-party delivery marketplaces.
“We felt the need was crucial during the pandemic to create a model for online to-go dining where you can mix and match cuisines and choose from different concepts in one order. It is never easy to please an entire household from one restaurant, so this ups the satisfaction quotient considerably, eliminates additional ordering fees, provides contactless pay and delivery options and saves time,” said Concept Entertainment Group Founder and CEO John Plew.
Concept Entertainment Group's off-premises pivot came as restaurants nationwide faced the realities of doing business during the COVID-19 pandemic, they increasingly leaned in to off-prem.
“Central Kitchen is here to stay as an additional revenue,” says Plew. A couple of new brands will roll out in the near future.
Concept Entertainment Group embraced technology and new ways to improve operations, speed of service and guest satisfaction. Now that Thirsty Lions are reopened, all of their menus are contactless and available via QR code on tables and signage via Chowly. Pay at the table and guests being able to order from their mobile phones in designated areas are here to stay, Plew explains. Also, smaller menus, shorter hours of operations, and lots of hand sanitizer and table disinfectant are no longer trends but the new way of doing business.
In the future, Plew sees smaller locations and with a better outdoor experience, more digital marketing, and curbside pickup and designated pickup areas for to-go orders and for third-party delivery drivers. Also on the list, a redesign of areas in the kitchen for pick and delivery.
Hear what CEG Co-Founder John Plew has to say aboout CEG's pandemic off-prem pivot at MURTEC in this 1-minute video.
Concept Entertainment Group's accomplishments exemplify the spirit of Hospitality Technology’s Industry Heroes awards.