Should restaurants add more locations to scale up the off-premises business?

What are you talking about? More locations in such a bleak market? Has the writer lost his/her mind?

Were these a few humble thoughts you had when you read the title of the article?

Can we change them? Let’s see!

Without spending a lot of time writing how the entire eco-system of digital ordering and delivery has helped restaurants, all over the world, stay afloat during the pandemic outbreak, and continues to enable businesses break-even. You can read all about it here. We created ample content to help you understand and implement the technology of the future.

What we want to do here is to help you understand whether scaling up in the current market is going to be beneficial for you or not! And how did we get to the point of talking about scaling up, when most influential news portals like The New York Times and CNN are talking about thousands of restaurants not making past the next summer. Read the feature here.

Well, life has its own ways to surprise you! What you do with those surprising challenges and opportunities defines the future, which could either accelerate your business or put it on a path straight to failure.

That being said, we came across a few restaurant chains that rose to the challenges of the COVID pandemic, navigating the unprecedented with much success.


They pivoted, re-strategized, and expanded!

Shake Shack adds 68 location for curbside pickups

According to a recent article published in NRN, Shake Shack, a New York City-based chain, added the curbside pickup facility to 68 locations during the pandemic.

Within the few days of realizing the pandemic’s impact on the industry, the Shake Shack quickly pivoted to the off-premises ordering, offering customers a seamless, safe, and convenient channel for customers to order and pick up food. They converted a few stores into Shack Trucks that offer the convenience to pick up curbside orders through walk-up windows or drive-up lanes.

As part of their growth strategy for the “next normal”, the chain is working towards launching drive-thru restaurants and in-house ordering to stay competitive and relevant.


Shake Shack is not the only brand whose proactive approach led to profitable results. Other restaurant chains like BurgerFi, Slim Chicken, Teriyaki Madness, and many more were able to position their off-premises offerings well with an accelerated digital strategy that also allowed them to open additional units.

For instance, Teriyaki Madness opened 8 new stores since May 2020 and is projected to have about 100 units by the end of 2020, or early 2021.

What about Independent Restaurants!

Of course, you may not have the kind of resources and support that the above-mentioned chains have, but it’s all about seeing the silver lining beyond the COVID-19 clouds. Maybe you cannot open 100 units this year, but starting with just a couple in nearby areas, or bustling neighborhoods, would definitely help improve sales, capture new customers as well as build brand loyalty. Who knows you become the “Next High Street Favourite”?

Start small, but start somewhere!

What do I need to open new locations!

Really, just half of what you needed when you opened your first on-premise dining! Here’s the checklist

  1. A rented location may be. Companies like CloudKitchen, Kitch, and Zuul Kitchens offer commercial kitchens and storage space, designed to help you run your delivery business with maximum efficiency and minimal cost. Most of these companies also provide logistics support so you don’t have to worry about creating your own delivery system. Learn more about cloud kitchens here.
  2. Another important aspect of running a successful multi-location restaurant business in today’s time is to provide your customers with web, mobile, and social media ordering capabilities. Even for curbside ordering and takeaway delivery. Allow your customers to order from wherever they are, to wherever they want! Having multiple digital ordering channels will allow you to capture a wider audience, even from those places that you hadn’t’ had access to earlier.
  3. Kitchen equipment and tools? Most Cloud Kitchen providers offer ready to work kitchens. But if you are renting an estate, then you might have to invest a little bit on basic equipment and tools.
  4. Staff for new locations. Isn’t that a good thing that your expansion will bring so many restaurant workers back to work? This article here will help you make the right hiring decision.

Expand with the bare minimum, but remember to leverage the power of digital ordering and social media. Having a robust online ordering system that can support multiple locations and multiple offerings from one dashboard is going to be the game-changer and prepare your restaurant for the future.

Check out all the options available for running a cloud kitchen, determine your budget and requirements before you go shopping! Most importantly, target the locations that get you maximum orders or interest from. Make use of the data and analytics to understand the demographics and geographical tendencies of your target audience. This will help you expand strategically, ensuring maximum return.

Have questions about how Restolabs can help you expand your restaurant business? Speak to our experts now, or schedule a personal, one-on-one demo here.