Wingstop Inc. in December opened a “Restaurant of the Future” in a Dallas strip mall, featuring cashless 100% digital transactions and serving as testing ground for new ideas, from new layouts and uniforms to a kitchen display system.
The Addison, Texas-based fast-casual company has shifted its modular, changeable kitchen into a back-to-front configuration, rather than running it in a line down the side of unit, and shaved square footage off the real estate by about 300 to 400 square feet.
“The prototype location ‘Restaurant of the Future’ modularity is key,” said Marisa Carona, Wingstop’s chief growth officer, in an interview at the locations. “We seek to be agile. We can shift components, add new equipment, testing platforms and products in a very quick, flexible fashion.”
Covering about 1,300 square feet and offering no tables (but three bench-style seats for waiting) , the delivery/carryout location also is testing a new kitchen display system, or KDS, that was imported after use in some of its United Kingdom units, Carona said. Typical Wingstop locations cover about 1,700 square feet.
The company-owned location is an innovation laboratory, Carona added, with low-energy lighting and a built-in holding system for cooking oil that is convenient located for bio-fuel reclamation.
Orders are taken either via Wingstop’s smart phone app or, if in store, through a quick-response, or QR, code menu used by the customer. The unit is cashless and 100% digital, Carona said.
“The purpose of this restaurant is to help us test, learn, be agile and disruptive as we seek to achieve 100% digital sales growing on our already strong base of digital sales 60% to 65%, Carona said.
All the kitchen equipment is on casters, so it can be moved in and out as new pieces are tested, she noted.
The Wingstop unit also focus on sustainability, including Energy Star equipment, the grease extraction and team members debuting the brand’s new line of sustainable uniforms, which are manufactured from recycled water bottles.
As of Sept. 25, the end of the third quarter, Wingstop had 1,673 locations globally. Same-store sales domestically were up 3.9% in the quarter and the system generated 61.6% of sales via digital channels.
Correction Feb. 3, 2022: This story has been edited to correct Marisa Carona's name.
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