Penguin Point opens North Manchester location

By Eric Christiansen

After months of anticipation, an iconic eating establishment opens its doors in North Manchester last week.

Penguin Point, already with a restaurant at State Roads 13 and 15 on the south side of Wabash, added a second restaurant in Wabash County with the opening of the North Manchester store Thursday, Sept. 4.

“We are excited to bring Penguin Point to North Manchester,” Penguin Point CEO Pat Hilton said. “There is a lot of opportunity to grow, not only in store count but in our guest service and the quality of our food. We are really looking forward to just improving our overall operations.”

Penguin Point is famous for its tenderloin sandwich, fried chicken, crinkle cut French fries and the double deck Big Wally sandwich, all of which are prominently featured on the North Manchester menu.

“The menu is the same,” Hilton said. “We will have some upgraded products that we will see in our newer restaurants as well.”

Located at the former Hardee’s site on SR 114 West, Penguin Point has given the building a more modern look.

“We love the interior,” Hilton said. “The dining room is much fresher looking and we’re excited about it. The technology is much advanced, our hot holding is much advanced, and we have better fryer technology.

“We believe that new equipment will hold our products better, cook our products more efficiently, as well as deliver a better product.”

One major change customers will see with the North Manchester restaurant compared to other Penguin Point sites is the single speaker and menu at the drive thru.

“Our legacy restaurants have the car-hop-like drive thru. This new restaurant will have your every-day drive thru that you are used to pulling up and getting a greeting, not having to push a button,” Hilton said.

“What this store has that’s a lot different than the others is we have drive thru headsets instead of the car-hop hoppers,” North Manchester Penguin Point General Manager Bri Hess said. “We also have a tablet so if you have someone at the speaker and have a car behind it, we can come to the next car, send someone out and take their order. Then two cars can roll up. That helps the flow.”

“That will be an interesting twist in the way we take care of our customers in the drive thru,” Hilton added.
Hilton also said the restaurant is looking to put in an online ordering platform.

“It won’t be ready on day one, but when it is ready, you can place orders online and pick it up at the restaurant,” he said. “We are hoping to cascade that to the ability to get curbside service. We are still working on the technology and hope to bring it to North Manchester and all of our Penguin Point locations.”

While the opening week will bring large crowds and possible traffic issues with the restaurant near the intersection of two state highways, Hilton feels his team will be ready.

“I hope that we handle it well enough that the flow of traffic doesn’t come to a stop, so we’ll be as prepared as we possibly can,” he said. “We’re hoping for that type of excitement. If we cause traffic jams because people just need to come check out us out, that would be a great day for us.

“The key for us is to not only get people to check us out because we’re the new shiny penny but also take care of them in a way that keeps them coming,” Hilton continued. “We plan on being a staple in North Manchester just like we are at many of the other surrounding communities.

“We’re excited.”

Penguin Point in North Manchester will be open daily 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. with staying open an hour later until 10 p.m. on Fridays. 

Posted on 2020 Sep 08