Inspire Brands opens its new delivery and takeout kitchen

Alliance Kitchen offers items from Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic, Jimmy John’s, Arby’s and Rusty Taco and is designed to save on labor and equipment costs.
Alliance Kitchen Inspire Brands
Image courtesy of Inspire Brands

Inspire Brands has opened a new kitchen for delivery and takeout orders that features five of its seven brands and is designed to be a representation of what the restaurant business could become in the future.

Alliance Kitchen is open in Atlanta and features Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic, Jimmy John’s and Rusty Taco, according to a blog post announcing the new kitchen on Tuesday.

The kitchen will be available for both takeout and delivery. It is also designed to be more efficient on labor, energy, space and equipment.

“We wanted to build it in such a way that we were sharing every possible piece of equipment and sharing as much labor as possible,” Paul Brown, CEO of Inspire Brands, said on Tuesday at the Restaurant Finance and Development Conference.

Alliance Kitchen doesn’t include Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins, two brands Inspire acquired last year, because the plans for the ghost kitchen predated that deal.

It comes as more big brands have started pushing further into the ghost kitchen space with a variety of strategies. Chick-fil-A has created a variety of new brands for delivery called Little Blue Menu that it is testing in Nashville. Wendy’s has a massive deal with the ghost kitchen company Reef Kitchens.

Stephanie Sentell, SVP of restaurant operations and innovation for Inspire, said in a statement that Alliance Kitchen is the first ghost kitchen that is part of a multi-brand restaurant company.

She said that Inspire’s “culture of innovation” and its experience running restaurants enabled it to develop the concept. Sentel also said the company plans to “test and learn with Alliance Kitchen as we find new ways to provide our guests with convenient, digital-led dining experiences.”

Brown said Tuesday that he created Inspire Brands in part seeing the potential for more labor efficiency over time as digital ordering takes a bigger role in the industry—and that larger companies would have an advantage.

Alliance Kitchen appears to move the company toward that goal. The design and the employee sharing cuts labor by 54%. Energy consumption is cut in half. Equipment costs are reduced by 45%. And square footage needs have been cut by 19%.

The company also said that the kitchen was designed to improve the experience for delivery drivers.

The kitchen is outfitted with heated and ambient lockers that allow drives to pick up their orders quickly. There’s also a lounge for drivers with free wifi, charging stations and complementary Dunkin’ coffee.

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