100 of the smaller-format units are expected to open in 2022.
Buffalo Wild Wings is leaning into its takeout- and delivery-focused GO format and plans to open 100 before the end of 2022, the company said this week.
First launched outside Atlanta in 2020, the smaller-format units feature a walk-up counter, digital menu boards, condensed seating and heated takeout lockers for contactless pickup.
For Inspire Brands, the move is part of a larger wave of new format innovation.
Last month, the Atlanta-based multi-concept operator unveiled the first drive-thru and pickup-only Jimmy John’s unit. And the first digital-only Dunkin’ location opened in Boston last year. And last month, the first combined Dunkin’ and Jimmy John’s unit — taking digital orders only — opened in the company’s global support center.
Last year, Inspire also opened its first Alliance Kitchen in Atlanta, a ghost kitchen serving food from five of the group’s brands, including Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Jimmy John’s, Sonic and Rusty Taco.
Inspire Brands said it has signed nearly 800 new restaurant commitments across all brands at the end of 2021, but the company did not disclose a breakdown by brand or the timeline for those openings.
Last year the company said more than 500 domestic restaurants opened across the Arby’s, Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s and Sonic brands for a total of more than 22,000 restaurants in the U.S. Another 800 restaurants opened outside the U.S. in 2021, bringing the global total to 32,000.
“Over the last year, our team has worked tirelessly to leverage each brand’s growth potential and implement programs with the goal of making them stronger than they would be on their own,” said Paul Brown, Inspire Brands’ CEO, in a statement. “This commitment has contributed to our development success this year while positioning us to further accelerate growth in 2022 and beyond.”
The private company said it closed 2021 with $27.4 billion in domestic sales across the system, noting that more than $6 billion came from digital channels.