Ghost Restaurants - Boo-ming!

The next place you order out from might not actually be a place, and the next kitchen that cooks your food might not actually own a kitchen. Welcome to the next-gen restaurant, where actually having a restaurant is not on the menu.

Also called virtual restaurants and on-line only restaurants, these delivery centric operations exist exclusively on the Internet, with no dining room or storefront in the picture. The cooking is done in “Dark Kitchens” also called “Gig Kitchens” which are set up to empower Ghost Restaurant chefs and food entrepreneurs to service the growing trend of app based meal delivery. No need for million dollar build-outs, staff management and the intricacies of running a restaurant. With a logo, a bag and a menu, you’re in business.

Green Summit Group in NYC saw it coming early. They now have 15 separately branded delivery only “restaurants”, all produced from the same kitchen with concepts as varied as salads, sandwiches, burritos, meatballs, Pan-Asian rice bowls and milkshakes. Most of their customers don’t even realize they are not ordering from a real restaurant and many might not care.

Big names elsewhere are also fueling the trend. Travis Kalanick, founder of Uber, has launched his new venture, Cloud Kitchens, which allows individuals or even existing restaurants to rent “smart” kitchens which are set-up to interface with the delivery platforms. With all the equipment and technology in place, operators can launch a business without the start up hassles, and existing restaurants or even food trucks can expand their brand through delivery without stressing their current work flow.

Even UberEats itself is getting into the game. They have established dark kitchens to prepare food under brand names only available on their own platform. The idea — secure customer loyalty to their app service as the customers can’t find those dishes elsewhere. They now have all that it takes to make the food and get it out the door — wherever that door may be — the consumer will never know! Ghost Kitchens are the phantom of the opera-tion!

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Ghost restaurants operate out of for rent or “gig” kitchens which are fully outfitted for food service and delivery

Written by

“212 to You” reports on restaurant and culinary trends in NYC. Wendy is Food & Beverage Marketer, Consultant, and Restaurateur, who is always cookin’ up ideas!

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