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Habit Burger starts delivery pilot

The fast-casual burger chain reported mixed Q4 earnings.

The Habit Burger Grill will begin testing delivery this month.

The test, using two third-party delivery companies, will take place at 20 units in two markets, company officials revealed during an earnings call this week.

“We all know from everything that delivery has a lot of momentum, and it’s time that we put our foot in the water here and see what it does for us,” President and CEO Russ Bendel said. “We are pretty enthusiastic about it.

The chain decided it would work exclusively with third-party delivery systems that would integrate with its POS to avoid having employees transfer orders from the delivery company’s tablet to the in-house system.

“Our restaurants typically are pretty busy during peak periods when online orders, the majority of them, come in and we did not want to compromise the in-store guest experience at all,” Bendel said.

The fast-casual burger chain also plans to test self-ordering kiosks during the second half of 2018. It will also soon test breakfast at six drive-thru units.

Habit Restaurants, the burger brand’s parent company, reported a same-store sales decline of 1% in Q4 compared to the year-ago quarter. Total revenues for the quarter ended Dec. 26, 2017, increased 15.2% to $85.1 million.

The company plans to open 30 new units in 2018—about half of which will have drive-thrus. Franchisees are slated to open six to eight new locations.

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