Krystal unveils its smaller prototype at its new company location in Center Point, Alabama, on January 10. The 1,700-square-foot, double-lane drive-thru features an advanced, sleek design using a smaller footprint.
On the eve of opening its new prototype, HT caught up with Casey Terrell, Chief Marketing Officer at Krystal. Prior to joining Krystal last August, Terrell was the Head of Digital Transformation for Focus Brands.
Not too long ago, new Krystal locations were in the 2,700 to 3,000 square feet range.
The new 1,700-square-foot, double-lane drive-thru features a sleek design using a smaller footprint. The Center Point, Alabama, location features a walk-up window plus a pickup area for digital orders and third-party delivery.
The prototype does not have a dine-in area and is 1,000 square feet smaller overall. Also, “internal operations looked at every space and current processes to maximize space and efficiencies,” resulting in 20% less kitchen space, he explained.
All these changes are “data-driven. We’ve been looking at what is working best for the business and how can we continue to grow, “ Terrell said.
“Realities of the business and environment” spurred the new prototype concept, Terrell explained. “COVID changed everything, that’s for sure, especially when it comes to consumer expectations.”
Consumers embraced digital ordering, drive-thru and delivery during the shutdown. “COVID kicked us off. It forced us and the industry to innovate and change,” Terrell said.
Small, Flexible Formats
Krystal is among the brands introducing new prototypes that skip the dining room and cater to sustained demand for digital ordering and drive-thru convenience.
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jack in the Box Inc. introduced its 1,350-square--foot, off-premise-only restaurant prototype.
Last month, Panera Bread opened its New York Panera To Go,, solely offering Rapid Pick-Up and Delivery shelves where guests and delivery drivers can easily pick up orders.
"This prototype signals a new day for Krystal," stated Thomas Stager, the President of Krystal Restaurants, who was been turning around the business with new partners, innovative menu development and an emphasis on new technologies. "We strategically sought more cost efficient opportunities to generate a strong sales-to-investment outcome, as well as a design to fast track franchise development."
The brand has ignited an aggressive franchise program, signing on a number of celebrities and multiunit operators in the past year.