January 13, 2021

Peter Cook, Publisher

OnTrend Concepts has some exciting news to bring you this week! The Ghost Kitchen Conference has been rescheduled to June 17-18! Speakers from Brinker International, Wow Bao, Kitchen United, Zuul, and so many great others are included in the lineup. In a time when ghost kitchens are rapidly disrupting the restaurant landscape, this is an event which poses an opportunity for everyone. We can’t wait to see you there! Please visit www.ghostkitchenconference.com for more details.

The digest this week has some great material. Denny’s is jumping into the virtual game with two more concepts, and Team Kitchens has an interesting concept developing with the LA Dodgers. There are also a number of smaller ghost kitchens that have sprung up at the outset of this new year.

With so much for you to get to, we won’t hold you up any longer. Please share the digest with those around you, and feel free to let us know what you think! Enjoy your Ghost Kitchen Digest.

Issue #25

Denny’s Tests Two Virtual Brands with Rollout Plans

Denny’s Corp., the family-dining brand, is testing two virtual brands that it plans to expand in 2021 and they “focus on burgers and melts,” the company said Monday.


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Why Capriotti’s Wing Zone Blockbuster Will Boost Both Brands

The old adage, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” may be the best way to describe how Capriotti’s acquisition of Wing Zone came to be.


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Team Kitchens Eyes Expansion with L.A. Dodgers, Applebee’s, Others

A delivery-only ghost kitchen concept that had a successful run last year operating in partnership with the Los Angeles Dodgers is expanding to several more locations this year and working with other branded partners to grow the business.


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C3 Acquires Shuttered Specialty’s Locations To Launch Virtual Restaurants

Today, digital kitchen platform C3 (Creating Culinary Communities) announced it has acquired 22 former Specialty’s locations and will use the spaces to launch a new digital brand, EllaMia.


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Kelly Roddy, CEO of SaladWorks on the Acquisition and Future of Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh and Frutta Bowls

Following the December announcement of SaladWorks’ acquisition of fast-casual brands Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh and Frutta Bowls, Nation’s Restaurant News sat down with Kelly Roddy, CEO of SaladWorks to discuss the acquisition of the smaller brands.


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Muscle Maker Grill Opens Second Ghost Kitchen Location in Philadelphia

Muscle Maker, Inc. announced the opening of its second ghost kitchen location in the Girard neighborhood located in the city of Philadelphia.


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Baristas Munchie Magic Expands to California

Baristas Coffee Company/Munchie Magic is expanding into California, adding to its more than fifty locations in Washington State and Oregon delivering Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, snacks, and hot foods to customers via delivery partners DoorDash, GrubHub, and Uber Eats.


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Outlaw Burger, Mother Clucker, Firebelly Wings and HotBox by Wiz Now Available for Delivery in San Antonio Through Ghost Kitchens SA

One of San Antonio’s newest dining options isn’t a restaurant at all. Ghost Kitchens SA launched Wednesday as a “virtual restaurant” concept.


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Cruising Kitchens More Than Doubles in Size, Creating Ghost Kitchen Division

Cruising Kitchens jumped into action to expand its operation to service Ghost Kitchens by taking on an additional 73,000 sq ft, bringing the combined square footage of the San Antonio based fabrication facility to 134,000 sq ft.


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Nimbus Kitchen Opens: the Dark Kitchen Comes to Light

In early 2019, there weren’t any operational ghost kitchens in New York City. Camilla Opperman found this out the hard way.


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What Goes into Operating a Ghost Kitchen?

DAR PRO Solutions caught up with Kitchen United - a rapidly growing ghost kitchen brand – on the unique challenges ghost kitchens face, their specific needs and what they looked for in a grease service provider. Here’s an exclusive Q&A with Kitchen United Austin general manager Zachary Adams.


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Virtual Growth as Wow Bao Expands

Virtual kitchens, virtual restaurants, combined with a strategic partnership just might mean dynamic growth and new electricity for Wow Bao and its brand according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.


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Denver Virtual Restaurant Combi Tacos Helping Families in Need

In this week's The Feed, Kylie Bearse introduces us to a new virtual restaurant, Combi Tacos, and the impact it's making on the Denver community.


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To Meet the Takeout Demand, Food Entrepreneurs Turn to Ghost Kitchens

It started out as a way to bring in money during the pandemic, but the Klonaris family of restaurants hopes its new ghost kitchen concept has legs long after the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.


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GoTab Unveils New Contactless Ordering Starter Kit for Hospitality Operators

As hospitality operators across the country consider new ways to operate or look to launch new concepts in 2021, restaurant commerce platform GoTab unveils a new Contactless Ordering Starter Kit designed to equip them with all the hardware and software needed to run contactless dine-in, takeout and delivery operations.


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Why Are Virtual Kitchens Increasing in Popularity?

Virtual kitchens, also called ghost, dark or cloud kitchens, are restaurants without a dining area. They either serve as off-premises support kitchens or standalone delivery and takeout-only businesses. It’s a decidedly unorthodox model, but one that’s growing in popularity lately.


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Ghost Kitchens, Virtual Restaurants and the Post-Pandemic Future of Foodtech

[Podcast] - In this episode, Lee Gibbs chats with REEF Technology's VP of corporate strategy, Felix Gonzalez Roson, and Creating Culinary Communities' COO, Brad Reynolds, about the evolution of foodtech, how ghost kitchens could help address food delivery apps' remaining barriers, and how pandemic-era shifts might impact our dining options and experiences into the future.


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Darden’s Gene Lee Remains Skeptical Off-Premise Boom Is ‘Sticky’

Darden Restaurants Inc., which has remained an outlier among casual-dining companies in declining to jump into the third-party delivery pool, is skeptical that post-pandemic customers will continue to pursue those off-promise occasions as often when the COVID-19 crisis wanes.


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A Flurry of Restaurant Deals Portends to a Big 2021

Led by the Inspire-Dunkin’ Brands deal, 2020 turned out to be a bigger year for acquisition activity than anticipated. Expect more of the same this year.


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Restaurants Will See Transition, Not Recovery, in 2021, Experts Say

Though 2021's performance will still be marred by dining room closures and capacity restrictions, there is still opportunity for the industry to take steps toward market improvement.


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DoorDash Driver Issues Warning About Ordering from ‘Local’ Restaurants: ‘How Is [This] Allowed?’

Customers on delivery apps — such as Uber Eats or DoorDash — can place an order from what they believe is a unique, local restaurant when, in fact, that restaurant is basically a chain restaurant in disguise. This reveal is the premise of a viral TikTok by DoorDash driver @FrogLuver2000.


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Ghost and Virtual Kitchens Boom with Cost Re-Sets Ahead

For restaurants, ghost kitchens open the door to new urban points of distribution in a short period of time without the long-term financial commitment of brick and mortar and rent required by the traditional dining-in model. And customers get the quality food they want and expect – a lot faster.


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Johnny Rockets Opens 12 International Locations

FAT Brands Inc., parent company of Johnny Rockets and eight other restaurant concepts, announced the opening of new locations in Brazil, Chile, Italy, Peru and Spain.


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London Impact Ventures Announces $2M Seed Funding Round in Virtual Food Hall, Kitchen Ventures

London Impact Ventures is excited to announce its participation as lead investor in the $2M seed funding round of Kitchen Ventures. A highly disruptive cloud kitchen and virtual dining start-up based out of London, Kitchen Ventures leverages its network of cloud kitchens in central London to develop and launch chef-centric and influencer-based brands, the first of its kind in the UK.


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IRSI Launches 1st It’s Just Wings Virtual Restaurant

As part of its innovation plan and customer service expansion, Puerto Rican restaurant company IRSI has launched It’s Just Wings, its first fully virtual restaurant offering exclusive service through Uber Eats.


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Cloud Kitchens To Dominate India’s Food-Tech Industry

In June last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak in India, Gurugram-based food and beverage company, Lite Bite Foods (LBF) that operates around 200 dine-in restaurants and cafes across the country, accelerated its plan of foraying into the cloud kitchen space.


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