OnTrend Concepts

December 1, 2022

Peter Cook, Editor

First, apologies for not giving people a heads up two weeks ago that we would not be issuing a Ghost Kitchen Digest last week.  In the U.S., last Thursday was a national holiday (Thanksgiving), so we took the week off from our newsletters.  But we’re back and as thankful as ever this week!

Plenty of interesting ghost kitchen news.  As you might imagine, delivery around the world is seeing a nice uptick due to the World Cup!  We’re especially looking forward to the U.S. – Netherlands game on Saturday.  Speaking of the Netherlands, registration is now open for the International Ghost Kitchen Conference, which is being held in Amsterdam from March 1 – 3, 2023.  Sign up today!  We just posted the draft agenda, so check out the important topics we will be discussing.  Sponsorships are also available, if you want to showcase your company’s goods and services to companies looking to expand to your markets.

On the U.S. side, we are getting ready to make a big announcement regarding the 3rd Annual Ghost Kitchen Conference!  Stay tuned on that, and keep your schedules open for early July!

I was honored to be invited to participate in yesterday’s TrendTalk by Rational, where our panel of experts discussed a wide variety of issues around dark kitchens, delivery, and food halls.  Rational will have the recording of the session posted here very soon.

As for news this week, big announcements from Just Eat Takeaway, Meituan, Rebel Foods, Kitchen United, Focus Brands, Chuck E. Cheese, Zomato, Ghost Kitchen Brands, Doordash, Amazon, Walmart, Perkins, Jack in the Box, 800 Degrees, Restaurant Brands International, iKcon, Uber, Kitopi, Deliverect, Prasuma Momo, Wendy’s, JustKitchen, and more!  And we expect to see a lot of these companies at the International Ghost Kitchen Conference, so sign up today!

And now, the news…

Issue #120

OnTrend’s Pete Cook Participates in the Latest TrendTalk Webinar

Recorded on November 30, this webinar provided a deep dive into innovations, challenges, and opportunities related to ghost kitchens. Register for free to watch a recording of the episode. We discuss virtual food halls, delivery, quality, and international expansion!

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Helbiz Kitchen Partners to Bring Food Delivery to United States with Kitchen United

Italian brands will initially launch their brands in Kitchen United locations in NYC and Austin.

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What's Cooking In Cloud Kitchens

Lower costs alone cannot guarantee success; in order to survive and thrive, great customer experiences must be delivered consistently and efficiently, say experts watching the space

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New Ghost Kitchen Concept Opens at Sea Tac Airport

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) has joined the small but growing flock of airports that are home to ghost kitchens and virtual restaurants with the opening of a chicken-themed virtual restaurant, called Chicky.

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Restaurant Brands Taps Former Domino’s CEO as Chairman

Burger King parent expects Patrick Doyle to help improve operations, share price

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Restaurants and robots: Don’t be alarmed

Why you should learn to embrace robotics and AI in your restaurant.

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Jack in the Box debuts off-premise prototype

The restaurant has just 1,350 square feet and has a double y-lane drive-thru, a walk-up window for ordering, dual assembly kitchens and a dedicated pick-up window for mobile and third-party delivery orders.

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800 Degrees Pizza Opens Renewed Prototype in Burbank, California

This latest space for the innovative enterprise represents the first phase of introducing its new style of pizza and a new look to match, while encompassing major expansion in the United States and across the world via a combination of its existing 800° Woodfired Kitchens; its new brick and mortar prototype; along with a network of ghost kitchens; and fully automated robotic pizza kitchens on the horizon.

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Chuck E. Cheese taps YouTube brand LankyBox for new virtual concept

Chuck E. Cheese and Virtual Dining Concepts have launched LankyBox Kitchen in more than 400 locations.

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Focus Brands’ pandemic-inspired adjustments create development optimism

Focus Brands is investing heavily in digital, pairing up some of its iconic brands and trimming down its real estate costs.

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What a Billion Data Points Reveal About the Restaurant Industry

Today’s hospitality businesses are essentially juggling multiple operational models under one roof: from providing hospitable on-premise dining experiences to delivering speedy off-premises orders. 60 percent of Americans order delivery at least once per week, and fast food chains report nearly two-thirds of their sales coming through drive-thru, which generates billions of dollars for the industry each month.

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C-Stores a Potential new Player in the Ghost Kitchen Space?

Brittain Ladd thinks c-store leaders should look at acquiring a delivery firm and strengthening their presence in the dark kitchen space.

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New Models for Ghost Kitchens

Thierry Rousset provides a nice perspective on the components of a restaurant vs. a dark kitchen vs. the latest iterations of dark kitchens.

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What’s the Hype with Ghost Kitchens & Virtual Food Brands?

This is a more in-depth look at ghost kitchens and the industry. Worth a read, even for industry experts.

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29 foodtech power players of 2022 revolutionizing how restaurants operate and deliver amid a looming recession

Restaurant operators are looking for tech that improves profits through voice-ordering bots, kitchen automation, and tech that cracks the code of navigating third-party-delivery fees. Here are some people making an impact.

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Uber's polarizing surge pricing is coming for your food deliveries

Raising menu prices to offset delivery fees and rising labor and supply-chain costs is becoming standard practice at chains like Chipotle and McDonald's.

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Just Eat Takeaway grabs cash, sells Brazil's iFood to Prosus for 1.8 billion euros

Technology investor Prosus said on Friday it would pay up to 1.8 billion euros ($1.81 billion) to buy the 33% stake in Brazil's iFood from rival Just Eat Takeaway.com that it does not already own.

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Cloud Kitchen Entrepreneur Wins London Business School’s Accomplished Entrepreneur Award

Unyielding strength of character and an entrepreneurial mindset was key to Khalid Baareh’s success in co-founding iKcon, a leading Food Technology and Cloud-Kitchen operator in the MENA region.

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EU: RBI signs master agreement to bring Popeyes, Burger King to Eastern Europe

McWin, through its newly established Rex Concepts CEE platform, is set to expand the Burger King brand in Czech Republic, Poland and Romania, and to bring the Popeyes to Czech Republic and Poland, with plans to open 600 restaurants throughout these countries over the next 10 years. The press release does not mention it, but Popeyes has seen great success utilizing a ghost kitchen model in the UK, so you have to wonder if some of this expansion will be via ghost kitchens.

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UK: Wendy’s announces plans to open new restaurants in huge UK expansion - full list of towns and cities

American burger chain Wendy’s has its sights set on an expansion in the UK - with plans to open restaurants and delivery kitchens across the country.

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UK BBC Video: The Secret Genius of Modern Life Series 1:2 – The Food Delivery App

Hannah Fry tucks into the tech behind food delivery apps, which are now used by 24 million people in the UK. Hannah finds out how pizza made us fall in love with the internet. (only works in the UK!)

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UAE: UAE's food delivery business is having a big week, and Qatar's World Cup is helping

UAE online food order, grocery deliveries up 10% this week, but real action starts Dec. 3

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UAE: Kitopi Lays Off 93 Employees

“We’ve made the decision to streamline, simplify and focus our efforts across the business to be more effective and efficient. As a result, we have reduced our global workforce by 1.86 percent,” a Kitopi spokesperson told Arabian Business.

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Meituan sees increase in revenue, profit as lockdowns boost online orders across China

Chinese food delivery giant Meituan reported a 28 per cent increase in revenue for the third quarter, as COVID restrictions in some areas have led customers to order food delivery more than they would have otherwise.

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India: Rebel Foods Named “Cloud Kitchen of the Year”

Award was presented at the Indian Restaurant Congress and Awards.

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India: Prasuma Momo to Expand the Number of Cloud Kitchens to 200

The company will expand its operations in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, and other major cities.

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India: Roundtable interview with Radhakrishna Shenoi, General Manager, Operations, CGH Earth

He shares some insights on cloud kitchen requirements, What untapped opportunities the hotels explore by utilising their existing F&B infrastructure, training and development aspects and more...

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India: Swiggy shuts its cloud kitchen brand The Bowl Company in Delhi-NCR

Swiggy has shut down its cloud kitchen brand The Bowl Company in Delhi-NCR as losses continue to mount for the food and grocery delivery major.

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India: Amazon to shut food-delivery business in India from December 29

Amazon started its food delivery business in select pin codes of the city in 2020 and gradually scaled it across most of Bengaluru.

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India: Why more food delivery kitchens are serving their food in clay vessels

“Clay pots are a great way to go back to the traditional Indian method of slow cooking to enhance the flavours of the biryani. Since clay absorbs excess water while cooking, it results in fluffy rice grains with a deep, earthy flavour.”

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APAC: JustKitchen Launches MrBeast Burger™ from its Ghost Kitchens in Malaysia

Consumers in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Can Now Experience MrBeast Burger™ via the JustKitchen App and Third-Party Delivery Service Providers

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APAC: JustKitchen Expands B2B and D2C Offerings Through New Arrangements

Workers and Consumers Now Have More Access to JustKitchen’s Meals and Brands as the Company Broadens Both its Corporate Client Base and Convenience-Based Operations

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APAC: Under-delivered: Deliveroo’s Australian exit leaves restaurants shortchanged and reliant on other apps

Deliveroo's sudden exit from Australia amid tough economic conditions has left some restaurants with a 10 per cent shortfall in revenue and others further convinced of the perils of relying on third-party delivery platforms.

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