Muscle Maker Grill to Open Their Third Ghost Kitchen Location in Chicago’s Wabash Neighborhood

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Burleson, Texas, Sep 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE via COMTEX) —
Burleson, Texas, Sept. 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Muscle Maker, Inc. (Nasdaq: GRIL) the parent company of Muscle Maker Grill, Healthy Joe’s & MMG Burger Bar, a fast-casual concept known for serving “healthier for you” meals, today announced that it has opened its third out of five ghost kitchen locations in Chicago. The location opened its doors on Friday September 18th and is located in the Wabash neighborhood of Chicago. Wabash is home to roughly 70,000 employees stemming from employers like JP Morgan Chase and Accenture. The neighborhood also supports many universities and medical centers giving this new ghost kitchen location the ability to reach over 50,000 students and faculty who are looking for healthy food delivered fast.

The remaining two locations in Chicago will be open by Thanksgiving and will give the company complete coverage throughout the entire city of Chicago. Muscle Maker Grill plans to open its first location with a new ghost kitchen partner, Reef Kitchens in Union City, NJ in a few weeks and will also roll out two additional ghost kitchens in Philadelphia in the next 60 days. Muscle Maker Grill already has brand recognition in Philadelphia as it has a traditional brick and mortar location in northern Philadelphia and two surrounding New Jersey area locations.

Michael Roper, CEO of Muscle Maker Grill, commented, “In short order we will have all five ghost kitchen locations open in Chicago. The Wabash neighborhood location will complement our Superior location well given that they both will service a large population of students and workers. The Muscle Maker team is working non-stop to ensure we meet our opening goals in a timely fashion and to date we are doing a great job. A tremendous amount of planning has gone into our ghost kitchen initiative and we are excited to start earning revenue on each open location. Stay tuned to additional ghost kitchen location openings to be announced in the coming weeks ahead.”

About Muscle Maker Grill

Founded in 1995 in Colonia, New Jersey, Muscle Maker Grill features high quality, great tasting food, freshly prepared with proprietary recipes. The menu, created with the guest’s health in mind, is lean and protein based. It features all-natural chicken, grass fed steak, lean turkey, whole wheat pasta, wraps, bowls and more. It also offers a wide selection of fruit smoothies in a variety of assorted flavors, protein shakes and supplements. For more information on Muscle Maker Grill, visit www.musclemakergrill.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

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Muscle Maker Grill’s ‘Ghost Kitchen’ Restaurant Model Is Riding The Wave Of Social Distancing (NASDAQ:GRIL)

There is a whole ecosystem benefiting from social distancing. Muscle Maker Grill (GRIL) could possibly become the poster child for it.

No one anticipated COVID-19 would have turned our way of life upside down, normal routines such as shopping, gathering and eating out had almost become obsolete. The transition to online ordering took a quantum leap over the past 6 months.

It all started with Domino’s (DPZ) when they announced that they were hiring 10,000 workers to keep up with the demand for delivery during the outbreak. As shelter-in-place orders have lifted, sales are recovering and many chains like Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), McDonald’s (MCD), Yum Brands Inc. (YUM), Starbucks (SBUX), and Shake Shack (SHAK) are trying to get their piece of pie.

These fast food chains are ramping up hiring and investing in mobile ordering and delivery infrastructure, catering to consumers desire to dine at home. Many businesses have struggled during and coming out of mandatory state lockdowns due to the pandemic. But Muscle Maker Grill’s “Ghost Kitchen” strategy may be a survival solution for the declining restaurant industry.

COVID-19 and the Re-Opening Struggle

Covid-19 has thrown a monkey wrench into the mix.

Most restaurants have been struggling to stay afloat and only have options of curbside pick-up and delivery. In order for them to make the same amount of money using the social distancing guidelines, they need more space and that costs more money. Owners have gotten creative and with the help of gazebo and circus style tent canopies along with outdoor tables and chairs, were able to open for business under strict Covid-19 guidelines.

But analysts are particularly concerned about the coming winter, which will eliminate these outdoor seating options for many restaurants, and about the demise of the extra $600 in unemployment benefits that had been available for jobless Americans. Eating is a necessity, but eating out may become a luxury. How long Covid-19 lingers, and the state of the economy will be major factors in shaping the recovering in this sector.

No matter where you look the job market is challenging. The restaurant sector really took a hit during the shutdown, but new stats are optimistically trending higher. Restaurant cooks and managers were some of the most in-demand jobs in June, as fast-food chains like Chipotle and Dunkin’ have been staffing up as sales recover. In mid-July, Chipotle announced that it is hiring 10,000 workers. Positions will include “hourly and salaried management positions as well as crew,” according to the company’s press release. Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. (DNKN) is also on a hiring spree and looking to add 25,000 people to its workforce, including counter staff and managers, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile Muscle Maker Grill is in expansion mode with a cost-effective new strategy to open “ghost kitchens.” It has also delayed its expansion plans for dine in restaurants. In February they completed an IPO, raising $7.7 million to execute their growth and turnaround strategy.

Their timing couldn’t have been better in regards to raising

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