(Bloomberg) — With diners staying away from restaurants, the owner of Chili’s and Maggiano’s is reporting rapid growth of a new service to deliver chicken wings under a different brand name.
It’s Just Wings is bringing in more than $3 million in sales a week since its launch in June, according to Wyman Roberts, chief executive officer of parent company Brinker International Inc. The brand, delivered to customers through a partnership with DoorDash Inc., utilizes the kitchens of 1,050 Chili’s and Maggiano’s locations.
“Sales have grown nicely,” Roberts said on a conference call after the company reported quarterly earnings. “It’s met or exceeded our expectation pretty much on every turn.”
Brinker is capitalizing on the so-called ghost kitchen concept, where restaurants forgo dining rooms and cater exclusively to customers eating away, as the pandemic makes expensive dining-room real estate more difficult to pencil. It can be a boon for restaurants looking to cut costs, particularly at a time when health concerns and capacity limits put a strain on operations.
The challenges showed up in Brinker’s performance at physical locations. Comparable restaurant sales fell 38.6% in the fourth quarter from a year ago.
Brinker shares rose as much as 9.2% Wednesday in New York.
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