The American restaurant group, known for dishes such as burgers and racks of ribs as well as its cocktails, will launch Fridays and Go in the first quarter of 2022, brand owner Hostmore CEO Robert B Cook has told investors.
The brand will be priced above the major food to go operators and instead be more in line with the premium offerings such as Leon and Five Guys. It will be a format that consumers would drive to and will be tested and trialled in Scotland.
Cook says the company had entered into an NDA with a major motorway services operator to look at bringing the format to the roadside, particular as drivers transition from petrol to electric.
Part of an integrated omni-channel offering which includes dine-in, delivery, at-home (pre-packaged food and cocktails) and food to go, Cook described it as a longer-term opportunity.
“We will be serving very authentic Fridays food, just in a different format in a packaged state. A lot of technology has gone in to get the food right but also to get the ordering and payment right for guests,” says Cook.
On the motor services opportunity, he adds: “Obviously this has a longer fill time and more dwell time at the station, and therefore a more experiential requirement for guests.
“We’re very excited about Fridays and go, and we see it’s a real extension to the dining both in the high street but also in that motorway.
“It is one of the areas we were looking to develop quite hard, given the white space in our brand penetration only being at 33%.”
Fridays is one of a number of restaurant groups looking to move into new formats away from the high street. Earlier this week Leon opened its first drive-thru restaurant in Gildersome, Leeds, which joins its restaurant at Leeds Skelton Lake motorway services.
Speaking at this month’s The Restaurant Conference Vishal Talreja, property director at Itsu, said the company was considering drive-thrus as an option for expansion.
Fast-casual restaurant brand PizzaLuxe has also identified motorway service stations for the expansion of its pizza and cocktail bar brand. The group has partnered with Extra Motorway Service Area Group to open within the Extra in Peterborough and next month will launch a second at Extra’s Cambridge site.