California-based Dog Haus formed in 2010 and now counts 75 traditional locations across the country. In 2020, the company came up with several new delivery-only concepts in response to pandemic restrictions.
One of those virtual concepts – Bad-Ass Breakfast Burritos – has since thrived beyond expectations and cofounder André Vener expects it to surpass the flagship Dog Haus brand sooner than later.
“If I was a betting man, I do think it could be bigger than Dog Haus itself within the next three years,” Vener said during an interview on the National Restaurant Association show floor earlier this week in Chicago.
Simplicity, including limited SKUs, is driving much of Bad-Ass’ success, though it’s not like Dog Haus’ other virtual brands, which have since folded, were all that complex. Yet some of the breakfast burrito brand's locations generate over $1 million in additional revenue for about 15% of the company’s total mix, while the others were about 3%.
Finding Bad-Ass’ sweet spot was a bit of an accident. The company’s franchisee in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago could only train his general manager on the concept between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. because the Dog Haus kitchen was too busy during the rest of the day.
“He turned the apps on just for fun and it never stopped during that first week. So, he tried it for another week and now we have multiple stores in multiple markets because of this one item,” Vener said. “It’s one of those things where you’d be shocked at who orders at 2 in the morning – hospital workers, night shift workers, those who just want to get on the road early and have a breakfast burrito.”
Dog Haus’ leaders expected this breakfast-centric concept to add incremental revenue from 6 a.m. to noon, but its Lincoln Park location generates about $2,500 a night between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.
The success of Bad-Ass Breakfast Burritos has helped push Dog Haus’ off-premises mix to over 50%. That number has remained somewhat sticky even as consumers return to dining rooms at its traditional locations, which drove the company to redesign its back-of-the-house so it had two prep areas – one for dine-in orders, and one for delivery/carryout.
Dog Haus hasn’t licensed Bad-Ass Breakfast Burritos, but its recent success has started to shift that mindset. Vener said the company is in talks with “two or three big powerhouse companies that have thousands of locations” to see if the concept would be a good fit.
“I always said we wouldn’t do this, but licensing could be a part of our growth and we’re now open minded to it. We think Bad-Ass Breakfast Burritos – which has limited SKUs and sells 24 hours a day – could work with that model,” Vener said.
Also, because of the success of Bad-Ass Breakfast Burritos, Vener fully expects the category to catch on, but he is confident his concept will maintain a leadership position as it continues to grow.
“I know there are a million people looking at this and ready to jump on the breakfast burrito bandwagon,” he said. “It will be a big segment at some point, but nobody’s quite hitting it out of the park yet like we are.”
Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]