- Cousins Subs added a brand new storefront and seating for 14 visitors to a beforehand delivery-only commissary location in downtown Milwaukee, based on a press launch emailed to Restaurant Dive. The unit opened in 2019.
- The 5,300-square-foot location has additionally added pickup choices along with its supply and dine-in enterprise.
- The commissary location’s new storefront suits displays the sandwich chain’s signature design. The addition of a eating room is a departure from the unit’s initial role as a ghost kitchen, a mannequin that usually would not embrace seating or pickup choices.
Pickup enterprise has skilled robust development all through the pandemic, driving extra chains to prioritize the channel. In response to The NPD Group, carryout represented 62% of all digital orders from March 2020 to March 2021 and elevated by 130% in comparison with the year-ago interval.
Ghost kitchens, like Cousins Subs’ commissary location, present a cheap solution to fulfill a rise in supply orders. Cousins’ supply quantity doubled to about 20% of gross sales when eating rooms closed final yr. In response to CNBC, Cousins opened its ghost kitchen in Milwaukee as a result of it may meet elevated demand for supply with out investing in a number of brick-and-mortar areas in an space with expensive real estate.
“Whereas we wished to check a ‘ghost kitchen’ idea for Cousins Subs, we really feel that the addition of a storefront with pick-up choices and seating will enable us to make the most of this nice location and handy parking in certainly one of Milwaukee’s most established neighborhoods,” Cousins Subs VP of Improvement Ferguson mentioned.
Though Cousins added hundreds of positions over the summer season, the restaurant trade is at the moment experiencing main labor challenges. The Milwaukee unit’s transition from a commissary kitchen to a storefront with seating and pickup may stretch labor skinny at that location.
Cousins is not the one chain to mix seating with a ghost kitchen idea, nevertheless. Saladworks provides seating at its Walmart ghost kitchen areas, that are operated by Ghost Kitchen Brands.
As extra manufacturers develop via lower-capital ghost and digital kitchens, they’re able to fulfill extra off-premise orders however threat dropping the model fairness and advertising leverage related to a bodily storefront. For Wisconsin-based Cousins, a storefront in Milwaukee may very well be extra profitable than it will be for a unique model coming into the marketplace for the primary time. Due to its downtown location, Cousins can be more likely to get extra walk-in site visitors with a storefront.