As Texas Roadhouse looks for additional growth beyond its flagship casual dining chain, it has quietly opened Jaggers, a fast-food restaurant selling chicken sandwiches, burgers and salads.
Launched in December outside Indianapolis, Jaggers emphasizes fresh ingredients and sells sandwiches and burgers starting at about $5.
"If you're not growing, you're dying is how I look at it," said Texas Roadhouse CEO Kent Taylor in a phone interview.
To date, Texas Roadhouse has kept a tight lid on the new concept but teased the existence of the mystery chain, which only has one location so far, on a conference call Monday.
While it's already constructing a second Jaggers location in the Indianapolis region, Taylor said "it's too early" to discuss further expansion.
Restaurants frequently test smaller concepts before choosing whether to expand them on a larger scale.
"We've got 450 some Texas Roadhouses so I need to have at least one more vehicle for our people to grow in the future," Taylor said.
Texas Roadhouse plans to expand another small concept it began in 2013 called Bubba's 33, whose development management described as "important" for its long-term growth, this year.
Jaggers' existence does not mean it will become the next big bet for Texas Roadhouse. The chain mulled expanding another operation it used to own called Aspen Creek, but ultimately sold it after realizing it would not be a national chain.
Texas Roadhouse is one of many restaurants growing or developing smaller concepts in hopes of juicing growth. Others includeYum Brands' Banh Shop and Super Chix Chicken and Fries and Chipotle Mexican Grill's ShopHouse and Pizzeria Locale restaurants.
RBC Capital Markets analysts said Texas Roadhouse's concepts would provide future growth avenues.
"The chain has achieved sales volumes similar to Texas Roadhouse's, with higher margins," said analysts about Bubba's in a new report. "It also provides a way for market partners to gain additional scale without cannibalizing their existing Texas Roadhouse units."