Southern California QSR chain Fatburger is turning 15 of its Los Angeles locations into ghost kitchens for Hurricane Grill & Wings, one of its sister brands, according to a post this week from Nation’s Restaurant News. Both chains are owned by Los Angeles-based restaurant company FAT Brands.
Hurricane Grill & Wings has restaurant locations across Florida as well as in New York, New Jersey, and a handful of other states. A store for Chula Vista, CA is in the works, but at present, the chain has no locations in operation in the state of California. However, thanks to Fatburger’s newly launched ghost kitchens, customers in Los Angeles will be able to access the Hurricane menu when ordering for delivery.
The limited version of Hurricane’s menu will feature the chain’s wings as well as a few other items like onion rings, fries, and soft drinks. The menu will only be available for delivery customers who order via the usual suspects of third-party delivery: Grubhub, Uber Eats, Postmates, and DoorDash.
To be clear: The virtual Hurricane restaurants aren’t displacing those Fatburger locations. Rather, Fatburger’s kitchens will do double duty, with cooks trained to make food from both menus.
Like any other ghost kitchen, Hurricane’s will be a completely unseen operation. There’s no dining room involved — customers who eat in at Fatburger locations doubling as ghost kitchens will not be able to order off the Hurricane menu, which, as mentioned above, will be available solely through third-party delivery channels.
For a restaurant company trying to grow multiple brands at once, a move like FAT Brands’ is a smart play towards enticing new customers who might be fans of one restaurant chain but wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to another. Turning existing real estate into a ghost kitchen for another brand is a way to expose customers to more of those choices without incurring the high costs and thin margins of a full restaurant location that includes a dining room.
And in a restaurant business where delivery is becoming increasingly mandatory, enticing customers to try a new brand through delivery also potentially increases a business’s off-premise sales — something that would not only make investors happy during earnings calls, but could also give a brand more power negotiating commission fees with third-party delivery services.
According to NRN, FAT Brands wants to expand ghost kitchens for the Hurricane chain to 12 more Fatburger locations in the fourth quarter, and eventually apply the concept across its entire brand portfolio.