Ghost kitchens, also known as virtual restaurants, are physical spaces for operators to create food for consumption outside the facility. These kitchens are designed to reduce unnecessary costs and optimize delivery, allowing restaurants to maximize their profits by managing their home delivery business more intelligently. With customers adapting to the trend quickly and easily, ghost kitchens are likely here to stay. For example, Si's Chicken Kitchen is only available through Uber Eats as a virtual restaurant. In apps such as Grubhub and DoorDash, listings of restaurants that operate with ghost kitchens don't usually look different from traditional establishments.
For example, Rocco's Ravioli appears on apps but has no shop window. It's a food delivery service that makes food in a ghost kitchen. If you own a food truck with several locations in the Los Angeles area, you may be limited in space for preparing and storing food. With the economato kitchens, you have a dedicated space to prepare your food and distribute it in your different locations. Inside the kitchen of each incubator, you have a shared space for deliveries only, so you can try new brands whenever it suits you best. To start with a ghost kitchen or a virtual kitchen, you'll start by renting space in a facility where you can prepare home orders.
One trend that I am seeing is the formation of central ghost kitchens, economato type, with several restaurants or brands that work in the same physical space. In partnership with Lunchbox, the app allowed shoppers to order from more than 200 ghost kitchens and traditional restaurants in one place for the first time in history. Ghost kitchens offer endless possibilities in terms of what you can do to launch new brands or manage several virtual restaurants in one place, since your presence is online. Launched by Uber co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick, CloudKitchens is an international network of ghost kitchens with more than 40 locations. Not all ghost kitchen businesses are inherently exploitative or obsessed with profits over labor; in fact, some may even be responsible for saving independent restaurants that might otherwise have gone bankrupt during the most difficult times of the pandemic without earning additional income. Ghost kitchens are one way restaurants can take advantage of the boom in home orders without wasting money on unused dining space (and all the costs involved in maintaining it). With customers adapting to the trend quickly and easily, ghost kitchens are likely here to stay.