Wimpy is trialling its first dark kitchen as it continues to adapt to new ways of reaching customers during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The Wimpy Slough operation is signed up with home delivery apps Just Eat, Uber Eats and Deliveroo, and in its first week of operation exceeded its target by 15%.
Chris Woolfenden, general manager of Wimpy UK, said: “Opening a dark kitchen is very much a test phase for us and I’m pleased to say the initial feedback has been very good. This has given us the opportunity to bring the much-loved Wimpy brand back to Slough, but very much on home delivery terms only.
“We shall continue to review progress and undoubtedly, if it continues to be successful, we may look at other locations in the future.”
Previously there were three Wimpy outlets in Slough, with the last one closing its doors in 2004.
Like the rest of the 69-strong Wimpy estate, the new venture is a franchise operation, headed this time by joint franchisees, father and son Herjit and Del Ghosal.
Both are both very familiar with the Wimpy brand, with Herjit having previously run several Wimpys in the past 30 years, and Del starting work at Wimpy when he was just 16.
“We have had a fantastic response, we couldn’t be happier,” said Del. “We have always had a passion for the Wimpy brand and being able to bring Wimpy back to Slough via home delivery is brilliant – favourites such as our Original Quarterpounder Cheese and our Bender in a Bun with Cheese are just flying out of the window.”
The pair made a large investment in setting up the new dark kitchen facility and currently employ a team of five to help meet online delivery orders within a two-mile radius of its base. Stringent social distancing and health and safety protocols have also been put in place for staff and delivery collection drivers and the operation is strictly off limits to the public.
The trialling of the dark kitchen is another step forward for Wimpy, which has worked closely with franchisees to help them through the Covid-19 crisis.
Adapting quickly to market needs has been one of the secrets of the brand’s success; diverting resources to support franchisees with social media campaigns and promotions to keep the Wimpy name in front of customers; and also providing advice and guidance on essential hygiene and safety measures.
Chris concluded: “Right from the start of the lockdown period our franchisees have been determined to do their best to serve the public and we must say a big thank you to them.
“We’ve seen a huge uptake in the move to home delivery and (in some cases) takeaway, and we now have 84% of our restaurant estate open, which is fantastic news for our loyal customers.”