Wednesday, February 8, 2023

[EXCLUSIVE] Krystal To Open New Drive Thru Only Restaurant in Atlanta

Burger chain Krystal will for the first in time in several years open a new restaurant in metro Atlanta.  The new location, planned for 3050 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in southwest Atlanta, will open in an undeveloped, approximately half acre outparcel of West Ridge shopping center just off exit 9 of I-285.  The roughly 1,300 square foot drive-thru only restaurant will be situated in front of center anchor Wayfield Foods.  

Established in Chattanooga in 1932, Krystal remained based there until the company's relocation to Atlanta in 2013.  Krystal was sold by Atlanta-based private equity firm Argonne Capital Group to Fortress Investment Group LLC and its operating partner, Golden Child Holdings, in May 2020, following the restaurant's January 2020 bankruptcy filing, its second such filing since the 90s.  

Under Fortress, a firm whose investment focus is on "distressed and undervalued assets," Krystal seems to be trying to remake their image, while also opening smaller restaurants.  

In January the company debuted a drive-thru only restaurant in Center Point, in greater Birmingham, Alabama, its first new restaurant in six years.  The roughly 1,700 square foot restaurant is about 20 per cent smaller than the chain's typical 2,700 square foot restaurant.  The upcoming Atlanta restaurant will, like the Center Point restaurant, have no inside dining but will have several tables out front for on-premise eating.  

In addition to the smaller format, the chain is leaning into its partnership with College Park-born rapper/entrepreneur 2 Chainz, who the company named its first ever "Head of Creative Marketing" this past October.  

Together with Charlamagne Tha God and Ray J, 2 Chainz appeared this week on The Breakfast Club radio morning show to talk about the restaurant's efforts this week to involve the community in selecting the brand's new messaging.  Throughout the week, the company will be calling on guests to provide their input on potential new messaging via Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. Some of the new taglines to vote on include "Now You Know" and "Who Else". 

The new Atlanta area restaurant is believed to be the "new restaurant prototype" that the company first announced in July 2021 was planned for Atlanta. 

Krystal currently has about 300 locations, including more than two dozen in metro Atlanta such as those in Buckhead, Decatur, Norcross, Smyrna and in Atlanta on 14th Street and Northside Drive not far from Georgia Tech. 

In Atlanta, Krystal faces competition not only from burger industry behemoths McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King, but also from new market entrant Whataburger, who has garnered what can only be described as an insane amount of interest following their debut in Kennesaw this past November.  While there is speculation that In-N-Out Burger could enter the Atlanta market in the coming years, there is no indication that White Castle, perhaps Krystal's most direct burger foe, has any plans to enter Georgia.

What is your favorite fast-food burger?  Do you think Whataburger is worth the hype?  Have you noticed any changes - good or bad - in the food at Krystal following the 2020 ownership change?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Ham said...

Not a big fast food burger fan. However, when traveling you can count on two things from McDonalds consistent familiar food and crappy service. As for Krystal can't imagine ever eating there again.

Anonymous said...

I'm a fan of Krystal, its a very distinct product in the world of fast food, there is nothing that really compares to it.

Anonymous said...

That's interesting...

I like Krystal sometimes as an alternative.
I occasionally enjoy a bag of Pick 5 for $5.99.
Also the Krystal Scrambler is a good breakfast.

I hope they bring the drive thru concept to the north side.

Anonymous said...

Krystal reminds me of my college days! Had some the other day. Still tasty!

Anonymous said...

Krystal has always been known as "The home of the postage stamp burger."

Anonymous said...

No, it hasn’t.

Anonymous said...

I need a lot of burgers. I do have standards when it comes to burgers. The last burger I had yesterday was from Flemings. Crystals is just total garbage food even beyond burgers total garbage food, the food taste like it was pulled out of a dumpster. I’ll be glad the day White Castle enters Atlanta metro

Anonymous said...

I love Krystals burgers with cheeze and the chilli pups. I'm not a big beef eater and because Krystal burgers are perfect. The soft buns just melt in your mouth like cotton candy. The onions are perfect. Most of all only mustard love it. No ketchup for me tomato sauce with plenty of sugar no just mustard please.

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