Black Bear Diner, the family-dining chain, continues to capitalize on pandemic off-premises sales with the latest opening in Mesquite, Texas, featuring the brand’s new vestibule pickup window.
Anita Adams, CEO of the Redding, Calif.-based dining concept, earlier this year said off-premises sales in takeout and delivery grew to 20% or more of the brand's total sales, up from about 7% of sales pre-pandemic, and that had invigorated franchisee partners.
The Mesquite location, which opens on Tuesday, is the fourth unit to feature the newly designed pickup window, which is in the vestibule, separated from waiting diners and convenient to the cashier-based payment area.
“The vestibule pickup window is part of Black Bear Diner’s new store format, which is helping them capitalize on off-premises orders and provide a better dine in experience since it offloads the off-premises pickup process into the outer part of the restaurant,” a spokesperson said.
The Mesquite Black Bear Diner, which is a conversion, features more than 170 seats and includes a diner area. Unlike most locations, the kitchen is not open to the dining area.
The Mesquite store is a corporate-owned location and the first in the North Texas Dallas-Fort Worth market, though the 147-unit brand plans more in the area.
“We are very excited to be back on the growth track,” Adams said earlier this year. “This year we will open about 13 new Black Bear Diners. … Five of those are corporate and then the remaining are franchised.”
Sales for the brand increased 55.4% to $350 million in 2021 with 144 locations, up from $225.3 million in 2020.
During the pandemic, Adams said the brand was able to increase average unit volumes. In 2021, Black Bear’s AUVs rose 46.2%, to $2.5 million, from $1.7 million in 2020.
“We are pleased to introduce Black Bear Diner to new communities this year, and we look forward to serving up our delicious food and family-style dining experience to more guests,” said Adams in January. “Strategically expanding our footprint in the Lone Star State is a key part of our long-term plan to continue to push eastward.”
Black Bear Diner was founded in 1995 in Mount Shasta, Calif., by Bruce Dean and Bob Manley. The family-dining concept is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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