The landscape changes
Although table service brands like Buffalo Wild Wings and IHOP implemented quick-serve formats before the pandemic upended daily life, COVID has accelerated those plans while heightening the conversations that many other chefs Full-service restaurants had on-the-counter dive-water service.
With offsite opportunities like take-out, delivery and drive-thru orders surging amid the pandemic, full-service operations have seen more promise than ever in the quick service category, not to mention… a chance of survival by taking their brand equity downstream. But even as pandemic restrictions have eased, full-service dining rooms have reopened, and consumers have expressed greater willingness to dine out, the appeal of the simpler, less laborious quick-service model remains strong for diners. full-service brands.
Nearly two years after announcing plans for a fast and casual concept, Flip’d by IHOP debuted in Lawrence, Kansas last September. In recent months, additional Flip’d restaurants have opened in New York, Cincinnati and Silver Spring, Maryland. Meanwhile, Buffalo Wild Wings, which opened its first Buffalo Wild Wings GO unit in May 2020 outside of Atlanta, is touting plans for 100 GO restaurants by the end of 2022, while Steak ‘n Shake is converting its more than 500 restaurants to quick-service formats, relying heavily on digital ordering, self-service kiosks and drive-thru operations to do so.
But it’s not just the mighty national full-service chains that are making their way through the ranks of quick service. Independent restaurateurs and catering groups also make the trip.
In December 2020, the Duggan family, who had served old-school Italian-American fare at Original Joe’s in California’s Bay Area for more than eight decades, launched Little Original Joe’s in San Francisco’s West Portal neighborhood. The quick-service style restaurant combines pizza, pasta and parmigiana dishes with a market offering ready-to-cook favorites from Original Joe’s.
And earlier this year, the husband-and-wife team of Joe and Katy Kindred, who found full-service success near Charlotte with Kindred and Hello, Sailor, opened a donut and chicken fast casual called milkbread in Davidson. , North Carolina.
RSQ spoke to five full-service restaurant businesses about their transition to the world of quick service restaurants: