E GRIL For Americans Demanding Healthier Fast Food Options: The Evolving Restaurant Landscape Amid The COVID-19 Pandemic

While chains try and offer some healthy choices, a niche sector is emerging that only offers healthy fast food. This basket of companies is led by Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG), Muscle Maker Grill (Nasdaq: GRIL), and Freshii (OTC: FRHHF) as well as dual concept Clean Eatz who are growing in the South Atlantic region.

Clean Eatz started in 2013 in Wilmington, North Carolina by Don and Evonne Varady. They started the original establishment with the primary goal to help fitness and gym junkies have an eatery to call their home. They quickly realized that healthy eating and meal plan services could help many types of people including moms, busy professionals, and many others in the community. Not only are they a restaurant but consumers can order a week's worth of meals for lunch and dinner and have it delivered to their doorstep.

Muscle Maker Grill is also adopting a dual concept in order to separate themselves from their competition by offering healthy options from both REEF and GHOST kitchens. This concept is perfect, especially during lockdowns, shelter-in-place, and limited dine in restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adapting to COVID-19 Restrictions and Ghost Kitchens

Restaurants have had to be creative to salvage their businesses during the pandemic. Many eateries were closed during the early stages of the COVID-19 lockdown. Some stayed open or eventually opened just doing “curbside pick-up” orders.

Eventually, restrictions were lifted to where business owners invested in outdoor seating where parties were socially distanced. For many, this wasn’t an option due to lack of space, while others with this dilemma simply utilized their parking lot. This strategy has definitely helped lessen the financial blowback by salvaging some business, but what will happen when the colder fall and winter months come?

In Connecticut, the state allows gatherings of up to 25 people indoors and up to 100 people outdoors, while restaurants may allow indoor dining at only 50% capacity. Many local restaurants worry over whether they will be able to expand indoor dining when cold weather arrives this fall, Gov. Ned Lamont said that Connecticut’s next phase of reopening could come sometime next month.

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Disclosure: I don't currently hold a position in any of these stock although I plan on acquiring GRIL.

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Moon Kil Woong 8 months ago Author's comment

Muscle Maker Grill certainly seems like it past the hump. It has opened new restaurants and the fearmongering has subsided. Hopefully, some will open closer to me soon.

Carl Schwartz 8 months ago Member's comment

How to know where they'll be opening?

Moon Kil Woong 7 months ago Author's comment

They already announced store openings. That's partially why the stock has rebounded.

Carl Schwartz 7 months ago Member's comment

During a pandemic?? Seems like an odd time to expand.

Moon Kil Woong 7 months ago Author's comment

They cut back a few underperforming branches which scared some investors and opened some on military bases and other locations. The article covers their model movement towards kitchen/restaurantless only locations.

Barry Glassman 10 months ago Member's comment

Sounds like $GRIL is a stock worth a closer look.

Bill Johnson 10 months ago Member's comment

You have some excellent articles!

Moon Kil Woong 10 months ago Author's comment