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The Krystal restaurant on Cherokee Boulevard in North Chattanooga is one of the Krystal outlets now open around the clock.

Open around the clock all days

› 307 Cherokee Blvd.

› 2304 E . 23rd St.

› 4868 Hixson Pike

› 7300 Shallowford Rd.

› 2510 Keith St, Cleveland

The Krystal Co. is making it easier for more Southerners to satisfy their Krystal cravings any time of the day or night.

Krystal, one of the nation's oldest fast-food restaurants, which began in downtown Chattanooga in 1932, is extending late night hours at 125 of its more than 350 restaurants.

Over the past six months, Krystal has converted 75 restaurants to 24/7 units that never close and has extended weekend hours all night on Fridays and Saturdays at another 50 Krystal stores.

In the Chattanooga area, the extended hours include five Krystals that are now staying open all day and seven units that are staying open all night on Fridays and Saturdays.

Joe Artime, director of brand activation for the Krystal Co., said the company plans to extend its all-night operations to more Krystal outlets, depending upon customer demand.

Open all night on weekends

-4416 Highway 58

-6300 Ringgold Rd., East Ridge

-6119 Lee Hwy

-2511 Decatur Pike in Athens

-621 Signal Mountain Rd.

-3150 Broad St.

-06 Hwy 72, South Pittsburg

Source: The Krystal Co.

"We've always had certain stores that are 24/7, but over time, as eating and living habits have evolved, we wanted to provide more people with around-the-clock service," he said. "We know that the Krystal customer views our brand as a significant late-night option and we wanted to take advantage of that customer demand. People today are eating whenever they want and more people are up all night in our 24/7 world."

Krystal and other fast-food restaurants are trying to capitalize on a mobile, wired nation that works and eats any time of the day.

Taco Bell has promoted its "Fourth meal," which it advertises as "the meal between dinner and breakfast," for more than a decade. McDonald's and other fast-food restaurants also have created ad campaigns to promote eating late in the evening and well into the darkest of night.

Krystal is known for its signature hot and steamy burgers, sometimes referred to in slang as "gut bombs," and have often been purchased as a late night snack, Artime said.

"Krystal has always been known as a crave-able brand and we're excited to be able to satisfy those cravings whenever they hit," he said. "Our first three months of doing this has exceeded our expectations and given the opportunity, we plan to make many more stores 24/7, if possible."

One of the biggest challenges for extending hours has been to keep the units adequately staffed around the clock. In some stores, Krystal is adding a few more employees and in others it is giving existing workers longer work schedules.

Many of the Krystal units open around the clock also offer only drive-through window service, not inside seating, during late night and early morning hours before the traditional 5 a.m. store opening times.

Krystal continues to look for opportunities to expand its 85-year-old brand, but Artime said for now the company is staying in its 11-state territory.

"We're a southern brand and all of our future growth we expect to be within our existing footprint," he said.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340.

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