Arby’s owner is considering ghost kitchens

Inspire Brands, which also owns Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic and Jimmy John's, has trademarked some brand names for shared kitchens for takeout and delivery.

Inspire Brands is apparently planning its own ghost kitchens.

The Atlanta-based owner of Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic Drive-In and Jimmy John’s has filed for a pair of trademarks meant for ghost kitchens.

The company filed to trademark “Inspire Kitchen” and “Alliance Kitchen” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in early January. Both filings say the trademarks are for “food delivery” and “delivery of food by restaurants.”

They also note that they would provide “restaurant services, namely providing ghost kitchens and commercial kitchens for use in the preparation of meals and beverages for consumption off premises.”

Inspire Brands said it was not ready to comment on the trademarks as of Tuesday.

Yet the trademarks suggest the multibranded company is considering its own ghost kitchens to take fuller advantage of consumers’ moves toward takeout and delivery.

Roark Capital-owned Inspire was formed with Arby’s 2018 acquisition of Buffalo Wild Wings. The company has since expanded with the acquisitions of Sonic Drive-In and then Jimmy John’s.

The latter deal, in particular, gave Inspire Brands a concept that helped pioneer restaurant delivery outside of the pizza and Chinese concepts that had long dominated the service.

A growing number of restaurant chains have been testing ghost kitchens, including Chick-fil-A and Wendy’s, while numerous smaller chains have been working with ghost kitchen providers or using their own kitchen capacity to fuel such efforts.

Meanwhile, investors have poured money into ghost kitchen experiments.

Yet Inspire Brands could well be the first multibranded restaurant company actively looking into ghost kitchens, at least to the point that it is trademarking names for those efforts. It could suggest the company is considering shared kitchens involving its various brands, perhaps implementing self-delivery using the Jimmy John’s model.

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