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Epic Kitchens obtained its start as a classic ghost kitchen operator. It rented five bays...

Epic Kitchens obtained its start as a classic ghost kitchen operator. It rented five bays in a CloudKitchens facility in close proximity to downtown Chicago and used the space to work as many as 14 restaurant ideas for supply only.

Its knowledge in what it calls its “R&D” kitchen assisted affect the enhancement of its latest outlet, which looks substantially additional like a regular cafe. 

Epic No. 2 opened a month back, on a corner in Chicago’s chaotic Lakeview community. It has a vivid, welcoming storefront, a dining home and a pickup counter that may possibly ultimately double as a bar. 

Epic Kitchens counterThe focal level in the front-of-dwelling is a big pickup counter for prospects. 

It also residences four brands—BurgerFi, 800 Degrees Pizza, Pokeworks and Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken—and strategies to add up to 3 more to the 2,250-sq.-foot place, functioning all of them as licensee. Buyers can order from just about wherever but at the counter: through Epic’s app, self-purchasing kiosks in the store, or via 3rd-get together supply internet sites.

Epic’s final decision to pursue the far more hybrid model was based mostly on a couple of aspects.

Very first, internet marketing restaurants with no shopper-dealing with presence—like at its initial ghost kitchen—is difficult.

“The battle to create digital profits can be pretty expensive,” Epic co-founder and CEO Murad Karimi informed Restaurant Business all through a tour of the cafe Wednesday. A bodily locale, in particular one that’s eye-catching, helps develop brand name consciousness in a way that a traditional ghost kitchen just can’t, he stated. And Epic observed plenty of prospect to open all those kinds of shops amid a sea of cafe vacancies brought about by the pandemic. 

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The Lakeview restaurant was formerly occupied by Cafe L’Appetito, a little Italian chain that shut in January 2020, before COVID-19 struck.
Epic Kitchens exteriorEpic strategies to switch exterior banners with everlasting signage before long.

2nd, Epic believed that presenting purchasing channels other than shipping and delivery would be much more lucrative. Which is why it delivers a couple of tables and counter seating as nicely as kiosks for stroll-in customers. 

“Dine-in simply cannot be ignored,” Karimi said. 

The CEO is nicely-versed in restaurant operations: He is also the co-founder and CEO of Mosaic Administration, a franchisee of Arby’s and Moe’s Southwest Grill. Functioning individuals restaurants gave him a “front-row seat” to wherever the market was headed, he said—namely, omnichannel, multibrand eating places crafted about operational effectiveness. Epic is his riff on that development.

Although it may search like a standard restaurant from the outdoors, it was intended with off-premise in thoughts. There is a separate entrance and pickup counter for shipping orders, and Epic is in the process of reserving parking areas out entrance for drivers. Karimi mentioned he expects delivery to account for 50% of all orders at the time its 3rd-party associations ramp up. 

Epic Kitchens pickup area

Epic has a independent pickup region for delivery orders. 

In the again-of-household, every single model has its very own spot in the 750-sq.-foot kitchen area. At minimum one staffer is responsible for each and every brand, although in the course of busy instances, there could be 3 or 4 people today staffing a single notion.

The kitchens are a great deal lesser than what would be standard for each individual manufacturer, a set up that Karimi explained was perfected at Epic’s initial ghost kitchen. The Pokeworks region, for instance, is a 60-square-foot closet. That is a lot lesser than Pokeworks’ typical kitchens in its 1,250-sq.-foot eating places, but it’s nevertheless in a position to accommodate 90% of the chain’s menu.
Epic Kitchen poke kitchenThe Pokeworks kitchen is just 60 sq. feet.

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There is as a great deal technologies in the back-of-household as there is in the front. Epic places an emphasis on slicing-edge kitchen area gear to streamline operations, and for future partnerships, it’s conversing to makes with automation designed into their business enterprise designs, Karimi claimed, even though he declined to share what brands all those may possibly be.

He was also hesitant to reveal the predicted device quantity of the keep, or which of the four makes has been the most popular. But in standard, he reported, Epic’s most worthwhile manufacturers are all those with the most economical labor styles. High-tech equipment is aspect of that.

And the business is just obtaining begun: It ideas to open 5 far more shops in Chicago in the next 12 months as perfectly as a person far more locale with CloudKitchens. 

Epic Kitchens interiorEpic appreciated the Lakeview locale for the desirable streetscape and dense encompassing community.

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