Stephen Lam/The San Francisco Chronicle by way of Getty Photos
Whereas the phrase “ghost kitchen” might conjure up photographs of haunted homes, the truth is a little more mundane.
Ghost kitchens are meals prep operations with no waiters, no eating room and no car parking zone – actually, no public presence by any means.
However on meals supply apps, they’re alive and effectively.
Briefly, ghost kitchens are bodily areas for operators to create meals for off-premises consumption. And on apps like Grubhub and DoorDash, listings for eating places working out of ghost kitchens normally don’t look any completely different than these for brick-and-mortar operations. For instance, the place I dwell in northern Colorado, there’s a restaurant referred to as Rocco’s Ravioli that seems on the apps. However Rocco’s doesn’t have a storefront. It’s a meals supply service that makes meals in a ghost kitchen.
One development I’m seeing is the formation of central, commissary-style ghost kitchens with a number of eating places or manufacturers figuring out of the identical bodily house. These are sometimes positioned in industrial parks on the outskirts of cities, since there’s no have to pay downtown rents when there’s no front-of-house operation.
Why ghost kitchens matter
Whereas it’s onerous to pinpoint precisely when the primary ghost kitchen opened, it was the COVID-19 pandemic that accelerated their progress.
By March 2020, most U.S. jurisdictions had pressured eating places to shut their eating rooms to restrict the unfold of the coronavirus. Whereas some eating places closed by no means to reopen, others pivoted to a supply or carry-out mannequin with various ranges of success.
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Some small meals operators used ghost kitchens to get a foothold out there throughout a time when opening an ordinary restaurant with a eating room would have been unthinkable. So long as the excessive charges charged by the key supply companies may very well be mitigated or constructed into the worth, meals supply outfits figuring out ghost kitchens might discover a technique to make a dwelling. Even nationwide chains like Chili’s and Applebee’s used ghost kitchens to maintain money flowing and check new menu gadgets utilizing completely different model names in case the concepts flopped.
With prospects adapting to the development shortly and simply, it’s seemingly that ghost kitchens are right here to remain.
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Jeffrey Miller ne travaille pas, ne conseille pas, ne possède pas de elements, ne reçoit pas de fonds d'une organisation qui pourrait tirer revenue de cet article, et n'a déclaré aucune autre affiliation que son organisme de recherche.