Friday, September 14, 2012

Not Too Much To Say : Krystal Too Should Never Have Opened

Chattanooga, Tennessee-based Krystal has closed its Krystal Too restaurant in Tucker just six months after opening.  The inline concept eatery was located in Northlake Square shoppingcenter in a former coffee shop.  Located in the middle of the center, the restaurant was without a drive-thru, something that undoubtedly contributed to its failure.  I wrote about the new location this past February and the ToNeTo Atlanta site exploded with comments and opinions about the restaurant, with many readers questioning their location choice and predicting its demise.

As you can see from the photo, the restaurant has already been stripped of all equipment and had its signage removed.  Sources say the restaurant closed sometime last week and the building was cleared out earlier this week.

According to Brad Wahl, vice president of marketing for Krystal, A typical Krystal restaurant derives 70% of its business from the drive-thru so to open without one seemed odd.  A typical fast food restaurant drive-thru accounts for about 50% of revenue, making the Krystal drive-thru even more important.

The Northlake area has seen a number of new food options sprout up in the past year or so, including a new freestanding Chick-fil-A that replaced an abandoned Taco Bell, and a free standing Chipotle Mexican Grill that replaced a Pizza Hut (Pizza Hut opened a take-out only location not far away.)  Additionally, Panda Express opened a new free standing restaurant along LaVista Road in front of Michael's, and Fork in The Road will soon open in Northlake Mall in the former Ruby Tuesday/Crescent Moon space.

An abandoned Fuddruckers restaurant is also finally showing signs of change, and has been stripped it its core to make way for renovations that will turn it into Resurgens Bank.  

Interestingly, a Captain D's restaurant that I recall having been on Montreal Road near LaVista Road for the better portion of my life continues to draw a decent lunch business, although it benefits from a drive-thru.

Krystal opened a second Krystal Too location in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee in late April, but it appears that store closed as well.  Searching the Krystal website for either location returns the correct addresses and refers to them as "Too" locations but their respective phone numbers have been replaced with a series of zeros, rather than an actual phone number.

Both locations were lacking drive-thrus and also lacked some of the typical menu items found in larger stand alone Krystal restaurants.  Larger burgers and all breakfast offerings were not offered at the Krystal Too, further limiting their appeal.

Also, it's worth noting that in the case of the Tennessee location, Krystal opened in a space that, according to locals, has contained nearly a half dozen other failed restaurants, including at least a couple of pizza joints.

Krystal opened another concept called "K Cafe" in Alpharetta in late 2010 and by early 2011, it too had closed.  The concept was designed to be a littler higher end than a typical Krystal and was perhaps trying to take market share from fast casual burger concepts like The Counter.

The company, which dates back to 1932, was purchased by Atlanta-based Argonne Capital in late March for an undisclosed sum.  Currently the restaurant has over 350 locations across ten states.

4 comments:

TheJohnP said...

Not shocked, but a bit disappointed, as that was the closest Krystal's near me. Admittedly, the N Druid Hills & Lawrenceville Hwy spots aren't distance prohibitive by any means.

I went to this K-Too several times and there was usually always people inside. Just didn't feel very inviting to sit down to me. Almost had a Pizza Hut deliver/Papa John's vibe that you grab your food and go.

And obviously the lack of drive-thru was the death knell. This concept of a location might work at an airport, but not in the wild.

mindspringyahoo said...

I made it over there a couple times, getting takeout for the kids, and had no problems. Staff was very friendly, it was very clean and modern.

Too many factors against it (no drive thru, bad parking lot, low visibility from the street).

Oh well, I guess we can look forward to an exciting tax/medical office or maybe another hearing aid store.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely no visablity...when I mentioned to co-workers, I work in the N'lake area, no one even knew about it. I bet you could ask folks that frequent MM and most wouldn't even know it was there. It was strange location and concept. I believe K2 could only work in an area with a lot of pedestrian traffic...like downtown Savannah.

djm said...

This reminds me of their venture into fried chicken years ago. After its failure they concentrated on what they do best and expanded on their burger line with pups, chiks and the like.