OnTrend Concepts

July 7, 2022

Peter Cook, Editor

Welcome to the 100th issue of The Ghost Kitchen Digest!!  For anyone trying to quickly get up to speed on the ghost/cloud/dark kitchen (and virtual restaurant) industry, the very best place to do so is likely in The Ghost Kitchen Digest archives!  They can scroll through thousands of article headlines and previews and then click on the links to read the entire article.  It’s a great resource for the industry.

The OnTrend Concepts team is hitting the road to talk to international industry leaders.  We’re planning on going to London and Amsterdam in the next couple of months, followed by trips to Dubai and (potentially) Madrid.  Let us know if you are in any of those locations (or have colleagues there) and would like to meet.  We’d be happy to do so!

Plenty in the news this week.  Amazon and Grubhub’s new partnership is the biggest news, but there is more.  Take some time to read through the Digest.  We hope you enjoy it.  And please feel free to email us directly with your own news and press releases!

And now, the news…

Issue #100

Amazon and Grubhub Create New Ghost Kitchen Juggernaut

Grubhub is a distressed asset in need of a second life, and Amazon a platform in need of new ways to capture more of the consumers “share of stomach.”

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Famously Proper exits delivery kitchens

The Byron and Mother Clucker operator has closed all but one of its dark kitchens, citing a decrease in delivery volumes and a difficulty in securing staff.

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Nextbite Names Ex-Red Robin CEO as co-President

Dennie Marie Post, who has been advising the company since September, will now oversee marketing, operations and culinary innovation.

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Cuisine Solutions and LSG Group form strategic alliance

Cuisine Solutions and CREA, the company’s education, consulting and innovation arm, is forming a strategic alliance with LSG Group to jointly develop new concepts for airline catering, as well as explore opportunities to use the LSG Sky Chefs catering network for other food-commerce models.

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Wonka bars and ghost kitchens: How food became the next frontier for YouTubers

Over the past few years, YouTube creators have been jumping off screens and into grocery aisles, leveraging their massive followings to springboard international snack, beverage, and dining businesses.

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Dog Haus Builds a Virtual Platform with Lasting Power

From day one, the fast casual has put its name behind its innovation.

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Geoff Alexander of Wow Bao on Branding Dark Kitchens

From their start in 2003, Geoff Alexander and Wow Bao have made it a point to share their story. That allows for a deeper connection with audiences and a way to show the heart behind a virtual brand.

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Queso, Please? Virtual Brands Go Niche as they Mature

What started early in the pandemic as a cheap, easy way to sell more wings and burgers is morphing into more-targeted digital menu offerings like melty cheese and loaded potatoes.

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One of the Best Reviews of a Ghost Kitchen We’ve Seen

We do not typically include reviews of individual ghost kitchens in this Digest, but this one is so well written and showcases a cool concept, so we thought you would enjoy it!

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5 Bold Predictions for the Off-Premises Restaurant Category

Exceptional food is still, and will continue to be, the most important part of an exceptional omni-premises strategy.

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Virtual Hospitality: Creating Connections with Invisible Guests

Barbara Castiglia of Modern Restaurant Management spoke to the phenomenon noting that “this [new customer dynamic is] what we’ve been referring to since the pandemic as virtual hospitality.”

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Food Delivery Apps & Restaurants: It’s Complicated

Delivery apps promised to connect restaurants with more customers. The dream isn’t working.

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Colorado shoppers now pay ‘retail delivery fees’ on orders from Amazon, DoorDash and others

The new delivery fee was one of several that took effect in July in Colorado as part of a transportation funding bill approved by state lawmakers in 2021. Wow. So some cities impose a cap on delivery fees, and others add to them by adding their own city fee on top of that!

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This Electric Three-Wheeler Brings Greener Delivery Options

Arcimoto and ElectraMeccanica are making light EVs that they hope to sell to ghost kitchens, grocery delivery services and diners.

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Podcast: Wonder's One-Stop Shop For Cooked Meals

Scott Hilton, CEO of Wonder, discusses his on-demand business that's part food truck, part ghost kitchen.

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Podcast: Simple Steps For Finding Staff with Ryan Gromfin

Find out why hiring right now is easier than you think from The Restaurant Boss, Ryan Gromfin.

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UK: Powering up the 'dark hub': British startup debuts new delivery model

The mobility-as-a-service concept enables individual couriers or delivery firms to rent small delivery EVs, such as electric bikes, cargo e-bikes, mopeds or scooters.

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MENA: GrubTech: Transforming restaurants and cloud kitchens

An exclusive interview with GrubTech co-founder and CEO on how they plan to transform the restaurant and cloud kitchen sectors in the UAE and Egypt.

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MENA: What’s it really like inside a cloud kitchen in the UAE? We find out

Invented for the pandemic, tech-enabled cloud kitchens have boomed in the Middle East. We take a sneak peek into why established brands are turning to cloud kitchens for support.

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MENA: 50 days on, ‘nothing changes’ for UAE delivery riders

More than 50 days have passed since riders from the two online food delivery aggregator platforms — Deliveroo and Talabat — staged a mass walkout demanding better wages and working conditions.

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MENA: For UAE’s Delektia, serving frozen meals is one hot business opportunity

Delektia builds its UAE and Gulf retail strategy by outsourcing all its production.

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Philippines: Manila-Based Madeats Is More Than a Ghost Kitchen Startup

MadEats, a Y Combinator graduate, claims to be the Philippines’ first “full-stack” delivery-only firm, with its own virtual shop, ghost kitchens, and a fleet of drivers. They also create and promote their own brands, transforming them into a delivery-only restaurant conglomerate.

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Malaysia: Why this ex-Uber CEO decided to start a M’sian arm of his global cloud kitchen network

KitchenConnect wants a slice of the cloud kitchen pie. Having begun its Malaysian operations in 2020, the brand is a part of Travis Kalanick’s—a co-founder and former CEO of Uber—CloudKitchens business.

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India: Swiggy pilots new private labels, doubles down on cloud kitchens

The foodtech major is now doubling down on cloud kitchens so as to strengthen its existing private label brands but concurrently rationalising its costs and optimisation with the key goals of efficiency and profitability.

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India: Hustlers Hospitality Raises INR 7 Crore Seed Fund

The company claims that it intends to use the fund for accelerating the growth and market expansion, reaching across six cities through more than nine dedicated central kitchens by the end of this financial year. They are also eyeing international expansion.

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India’s Consultants Predict Lot More Changes Post COVID

Some of the India's top consultants see a lot of changes among the decision making from F&B brand owners

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India: Cloud Kitchen is silver lining of Covid-19 pandemic: Restaurateur Zorawar Kalra

India Blooms correspondent Souvik Ghosh catches up with Kalra, who shares his plans, lends advices to young entrepreneurs and more.

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India: 'No fancy menu cards, no marketing': Entrepreneurial lessons from a food delivery boy

Sachin Ahuja talks about the cloud kitchen started by his wife during the Covid Lockdown that ‘started as an instrument to help, it soon became a cloud kitchen business model’.

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