Even though Jack in the Box boasts 2,200 locations, it only spans 22 states. The chain is predominantly concentrated in the Western continental United States. Yet even if you live elsewhere, chances are you've heard the name Jack in the Box before. It is already the fifth-largest quick-service burger chain in the U.S. That's not a small thing.
The San Diego-based fast-casual burger chain recently opened new restaurants in Salt Lake City and Louisville, Kentucky to massive success, raking in same-store figures more than 200% above the national store average, reports Restaurant Business. Last year, the chain sold off nearly half of the Del Taco stores it owned and never looked back. Now, riding on the wave of its first new market openings in over a decade. the (for now) Western chain has its sights set on a much larger expansion.
Jack in the Box signed 90 agreements for the construction of 389 new restaurants, signifying the chain's official expansion into Florida, Arkansas, Montana, Wyoming, and Mexico. By 2027, Jack in the Box aims to increase its unit growth by 2.5% per year. The brand has shared that it is currently anticipating 35 to 55 combined new Jack in the Box and Del Taco stores to open by the end of fiscal year 2024, increasing to between 55 and 85 units in 2025, 70 to 100 in 2026, and 90 to 120 in 2027, per QSR.
A Taste Of The West Goes Nationwide
Jack in the Box is coming in hot out of the gate momentum-wise in 2024 with the success of the Smashed Jack burger, which marked the first time the chain released a new burger in eight years. It took two years to build, and it sold out in two weeks — all without a paid marketing campaign. The burger was intended to be a limited-edition item, but it was expected to last for six weeks. The viral burger is slated to become a permanent menu item and receive a national release in February — all of which bodes well for the larger expansion plan.
Jack in the Box currently boasts over 80 menu items and promises that even more offerings are on their way, including egg rolls, curly fries, all-day breakfast, and milkshakes. It recently experimented with other innovations like the Oreo-based cookie bar that hit menus in December and the revamped restaurant concept that ditched the dining room altogether, which was tested in 2022. During Jack in the Box's fourth-quarter earnings call in late 2023, CEO Darin Harris shared, "We're going to pace ourselves into these markets, but we're very excited about the way we've entered it. We are excited about the playbook that we've used to enter the markets and we're going to continue to look for new opportunities like this," via Nation's Restaurant News.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.