Restaurant and bar consulting, development and startup group KRG Hospitality has announced a quick-service, virtual kitchen concept. This turnkey QSR is a well-positioned, fully realized opportunity for those looking toward the future of restaurants.
Absurd! Kitchen Co. has been under development since KRG recognized the need for operators to pivot to survive the pandemic. This comes as to no surprise to me—KRG are operators themselves.
“At KRG Hospitality, we immediately pivoted in March 2020 into ‘rescue mode,’ understanding the immediate needs of so many independent operators,” reads a statement on the KRG website.
Health, safety and comfort are at the forefront of today’s guest needs. Absurd! was developed to fulfill on those expectations out of the box, creating a path forward for operators in the post-Covid era.
The Absurd! Kitchen concept is the physical embodiment of KRG’s commitment to operators, guests, service, and innovation. More than ever, today’s guest is seeking a modern approach to the dining experience that embraces the convenience of frictionless ordering, pick-up and delivery; leverages the latest in technology; rewards loyalty; and marries the overall experience to health and safety.
Restaurant guests are understandably wary of waiting in lines. Some are less than enthused about interacting with other restaurant guests and team members because of the pandemic. Even before Covid-19 ravaged the industry, people were eager to pay via mobile device and take advantage of other frictionless features. The Absurd! concept provides modern solutions for each of those challenges and opportunities (and more). Click here to read more about the post-pandemic restaurant diner.
There are no lines to wait in at an Absurd! location. There’s no contact between guests and team members. There are two ways for guests to interact with a location: a pick-up area and a drive-through area. Food-safe storage units are accessed via mobile devices at the pick-up area, and the drive-through serves only those who have placed pre-orders or delivery drivers. Convenient, safe, time-saving restaurant features for a post-pandemic world.
So, what type of items will Absurd! guests be ordering? KRG describes the cuisine as “southern inspired,” but also notes that they have no interest in merely entering the current “chicken wars.” Instead, they’ve worked to develop a range of food items intended to “crush” QSR competitors.
The menu includes loaded chicken strips, fried waffle sticks, breakfast bowls, and “mind-blowing” sandwiches. Click here, read our post about the most popular Uber Eats and Grubhub orders, and you’ll see that Absurd is poised to deliver what today’s guest wants.
When KRG says Asburd! offers a full suite of menu items aimed at boosting profits, they mean it. There are options for those with restrictive dietary needs, such as dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan meat alternatives. KRG has also developed a retail element that offers branded dry spices and meal kits (leveraging another hot trend). The concept’s packaging is sustainable and branded, and food trucks can be added to further grow an Absurd! operation’s reach.
“Approximately 85 percent of the food menu will be prepared on-site, including the seasoning mix and ‘dredge’ for the fried chicken, which is intended to also be gluten-free and dairy-free,” says Doug Radkey, KRG Hospitality president and project manager. “The brand is able to accomplish this by maintaining a small but robust and strategic menu mix over the breakfast, lunch, and dinner day-parts. Other food items such as the chile cornbread, breakfast biscuits, and sandwich buns will be sourced through regional partnerships.”
While developing Absurd!, KRG has created a loyalty program to go along with it that’s relevant to today’s guest preferences and consumer habits. Loyalty programs have made the news lately, with attention being paid to how they’ve been changing for the past couple of years.
Tech has emerged as a driver for such programs, combining guest data and personalized digital interactions to increase loyalty. However, creativity is a crucial element as well. Recognizing the value of a unique but easily understood loyalty program that offers an attractive value proposition, KRG’s approach for Absurd! is a beverage-based subscription service.
“With a low monthly cost of approximately $8.99 USD per month, the Absurd! beverage subscription program, which is optional, gives the brand an easy way to attract customers and convince them to change their traditional F&B ordering habits while building a strong base of loyalty (and data),” says Radkey. “Consumers today are accustomed to low-cost monthly subscriptions. Therefore, we think it is time for restaurants to tap into that opportunity. The ‘unlimited drinks’ within this program include coffee, iced tea, lemonade, and an assortment of flavored soda waters.”
Absurd! Kitchen Co. isn’t unique for the sake of being different—it was born out of KRG’s dedication to helping the industry. Looking at the future of restaurants through the eyes of experienced operators, the group felt the need to create a concept that’s recession- and pandemic-proof, scalable, flexible, and not reliant upon heavy day-to-day involvement by the owners. Those key characteristics make Absurd! ideal for basically any operator, from the neophyte to the experienced hospitality group.
Visit www.AbsurdKitchen.com to learn more and download this turnkey concept’s information packet. Investors interested in Absurd and working with KRG Hospitality can also contact Doug Radkey via email at Doug@KRGHospitality.com. Tell him the Hospitality Villains sent you!
Images provided by KRG Hospitality
I’ve been studying and writing about the hospitality industry since 2006. Like so many people, I started my journey in this business by working as a host, server and bartender. I was introduced to nightlife in Chicago, learning the ins and outs of nightclubs and after-hours hot spots.
After moving to Las Vegas nearly 20 years ago, I both co-owned a valet company and helped promote the club it serviced. That led to me taking on the role of editor for a Las Vegas hospitality industry publication.
A few short years later, I continued along my journey of hospitality industry reporting. I went from contributing to a major industry outlet to taking on the role of editor and content curator.