By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
COOKEVILLE – Friday, the Cookeville Krystal reopened after a months-long closure to completely remodel the restaurant.
“Everything in here is new. We basically took it down to the steel studs and started over,” said John Jones, a partner in the Hale Group, owner of Cookeville Krystal. “We redid the roof, the HVAC, all new equipment. We redid the parking lot. Everything is new. There are new high-tech grills with 30% more through-put capacity. We can cook an extra 30% more burgers in the same timeframe. It’ll make us more efficient.”
The restaurant kept one drive-thru and one walk-up area with enhanced outdoor seating. There will be music outside and a canopy has been ordered but delayed due to supply chain issues. Owners have even brought back the Krystal ball.
“The Krystal Ball was iconic,” said Jones. “We were the very first Krystal franchisee. When you got awarded a franchise agreement with Krystal, you got a Krystal ball to put on your building. This was the original all that was on the building. It was taken off years ago.”
The Cookeville Krystal was the second franchise store for the brand in 1991. The Crossville Krystal was the first, and the Hale Group now has 44 locations.
Although many things have changed, the restaurant is very proud to have two employees that were hired when the store first opened, Laura Jones and Robert Haston. Mary Hale is the general manager, and she has been with the company 16 years.
To celebrate the reopening, Krystal will be featuring the new Krystal chik which is 50% larger and made from all breast meat.
Late night diners will be pleased to know that Krystal is now open much later. The new hours are Sunday to Wednesday 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Thursday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Delivery is a new aspect that the restaurant is focusing on and has partnerships with UberEATS and Grub Hub. You can place orders at Krystal.com.
In a hat-tip to the highly in demand food worker market, the restaurant kept all 30 of its workers on payroll and continued to pay them through the remodel while also allowing them to also work for other restaurants, so that their staff would be available when the remodel was complete.
Additional employees are always needed and can apply by texting HiremeKrystal to 31063.
The Hale Group is based in Chattanooga, Tennessee and has restaurants in Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Kentucky and South Carolina. It is the oldest and the largest franchisee for the brand.