With chicken dominating the virtual brand space, pizza concept Shakey’s is jumping into the fray.
Los Angeles-based Shakey’s Pizza unveiled its own virtual chicken brand called Mojos& in the Los Angeles area, the company announced Tuesday.
This fried chicken delivery-only concept offers fried chicken sandwiches, bone-in fried chicken and Shakey’s famous Mojo Potatoes, which are fried thick slices of potato. And, like many other virtual brands, the concept was created as a response to the increase in off-premise dining caused by the COVID pandemic.
Mojos& will be prepared out of the kitchens of seven Shakey’s locations across Los Angeles and delivered via DoorDash.
Menu items include various combinations of chicken or chicken sandwiches, Mojos, sauces and bottles of Pepsi. Price range from $6.99 to $15.99 for the combination meals.
The brand also sells wings, legs or breast by the pound with a choice of seven sauces.
While dine-in remains closed in Los Angeles County as the COVID infection rate soars, Mojos& plans to expand delivery services, the company said.
“The Shakey’s business model has historically been a dine-in experience,” said Shakey’s Pizza CEO Nick Mayer. “When the pandemic hit and indoor dining was shuttered throughout most of California, we expanded our capabilities for delivery, curbside pickup and patio seating.
Since we are still operating well below capacity, the idea of creating a delivery-only concept featuring our craveable fried chicken with a twist made a lot of sense.”
That “twist” is supporting inclusion as a pillar of the chicken brand.
Mojos& is taking more of a tongue-and-cheek approach to marketing, directly targeting the LGBTQ community and supporters with their “inclusive” chicken sandwich.
Mojos& has partnered with the Varsity Gay League, the largest recreational sports league for LGBTQIA+ in the country, to provide food for any upcoming in-person games, COVID-permitting.
“I can put [my] 'fried chicken’ [money] where my mouth is,” said Andrew Miller, Director of Operations, Varsity Gay League, said in a statement.
“The pivot [to a virtual brand using Shakey’s kitchens] was not only designed to optimize back-of-house operations and keep hundreds of valued team members employed, but also fill a gap within the competitive landscape that has largely dismissed an important segment of the population,” said Mayer in a statement.
Chick-fil-A came under fire several years ago after its CEO made public statements against gay marriage, and for corporate donations to charities that were considered anti-LGBTQ, though the brand has worked to change that reputation.
Meanwhile, the “Chicken Sandwich Wars” of 2019 began with the Popeyes sandwich, sparking the launch of a steady stream of competitors that have joined wings as a much-in-demand delivery favorite.
McDonald’s and Shake Shack have unveiled new fried chicken sandwiches for the new year.
Shakey’s Pizza currently operates 50 restaurants across the West Coast of the U.S.
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