On March 17, Wingstop (NASDAQ:WING) CEO Charlie Morrison issued a statement about the company's plans in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its locations will remain open, although diners will not have the option of eating at the store. All orders must be for carry-out or delivery.
This news comes as President Trump spoke with restaurant company executives about the importance of continuing to provide people with both food and employment.
Wingstop is ready for this
Incidentally, this is how Wingstop wants to do business anyway. Off-premise already accounts for 80% of the company's business, so it's up to the task at hand. But the company wouldn't mind seeing off-premise grow even further. In fact, it's already running a trial restaurant in the United Kingdom for a "ghost kitchen" -- a location with no dining space at all.
Also, during this time, Wingstop is encouraging all orders to come through digital channels. This makes sense from a health perspective. It takes time to cook an order. If diners place orders on location, they'll be forced to wait, potentially in a room full of other waiting diners. That's counterproductive in the days of social distancing.
It also makes sense from a strategic perspective. Wingstop has long had a company goal for all transactions to be digital. As of January, only 40% of the company's orders were digital.
Morrison did mention that if people begin congregating inside Wingstop locations, they may be asked to wait in their cars. He also floated the possibility that locations could see adjusted hours in coming days as the company cooperates with government officials.