January 27, 2021

Ian Cook, Managing Editor

What a tremendously packed week for ghost kitchens! There’s been a lot of great material released in this area from expansion announcements to some fantastic interviews. Wow Bao announced their plans to be in 1,000 locations by the end of the year! CEO of Kitchen United Michael Montagano has a great interview describing their growth plans as well.

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Issue #27

Wow Bao Partner Kitchen Program Offers Lifeline to Restaurants, Will Have 1,000 Locations by Year End

Chicago-based chain on blistering growth pace will soar to more than a thousand locations by the end of 2021 from six brick-and-mortar stores in spring 2020. Partnership with digital marketing virtual restaurant company to add another 100 in next six months.


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Bloomin' Brands Is Testing 'Ghost Kitchen' in Birmingham

Tender Shack, the fried chicken ghost restaurant from Bloomin' Brands Inc., has performed so well in Bloomin's hometown of Tampa that the company has expanded its pilot program of the concept to Birmingham.


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Aloha Poke Launches Ghost Kitchen in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

Aloha Poke, the nation’s premier fast-casual poke restaurant concept, announced today it has officially launched into the South Florida market with its first ghost kitchen operation in beautiful downtown Fort Lauderdale, FL.


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Building a Pandemic-Proof Model

Host Paul Barron sits down with Pete Mora, the founder of Fajita Pete’s, to explore how to build and bolster your business so it can survive future recessions, pandemics, and other disaster scenarios.


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Coolgreens Gears Up for Growth After Record 2020

After a year that forced restaurant brands to adapt and evolve quickly in order to survive, Coolgreens has positioned itself for an extraordinary 2021 through innovative business strategies and a focus on growth.


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What MrBeast’s Restaurant Success Tells Us About the Future

Virtual Dining Concepts’ recent partnership with the YouTube star is one example of celebrities breaking into the industry.


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Kitchen United CEO Expounds on Growth, Teases Transformative Partnerships

After announcing plans to grow Kitchen United’s ghost kitchen portfolio from four to 20 locations by the end of 2021, CEO Michael Montagano teased upcoming partnerships that “will absolutely transform the company—I promise you that.”


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Ghost Kitchen Company Pounces on Downtown Space Where Food Hall Folded

The 10,500-square-foot Wells Street Market space has been vacant since September, and what was once an alluring downtown spot isn’t so attractive during COVID-19. But four months later, Kitchen United, a California-based ghost kitchen company has announced it will take over the space.


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Muscle Maker Grill Now Offering Direct-to-Consumer Prepared Meal Plans

Starting Thursday, customers can order ready-made “healthier for you” prepared meals shipped directly to their doorstep. The first location to launch this program is located in the Chelsea neighborhood of NYC allowing customers within 250 miles to order their ready-made meals.


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The Halal Guys Expands Cloud Kitchen Opportunities for Franchisees

The Halal Guys, one of the fastest growing Middle Eastern fast-casual concepts, is expanding its successful portfolio of delivery-only “cloud kitchens” to meet growing customer demand and enhance its delivery, pickup and group ordering options.


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5 Things To Know About Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises

R.J. Melman, president of the Chicago-based multi-concept operator, talks about navigating the pandemic, creating new restaurants and the particular challenges of launching virtual brands.


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Baristas Munchie Magic Opening in Fifth State AZ

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


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New Famous Dave’s Ghost Kitchen Opens in Granite City

Barbeque Holdings, the company that owns Granite City, has added a second brand to their restaurant: “Famous Dave’s.”


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How Cali Comfort BBQ Is Transforming from a Full-Service Restaurant into a Commissary Servicing 10 Ghost Kitchens

Spring Valley, Calif.-based Cali Comfort BBQ upended their business by downsizing their menu, upgrading their digital technology and leaning on ghost kitchens.


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Off-Premises Keys To Thrive

On this episode of the Takeout, Delivery, and Catering podcast series, hosts TJ Schier and Sam Stanovich sit down with Shawn Walchef, the founder of Cali BBQ Media, to explore how restaurants can use technology and digital advertising to drive off-premises sales.


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Virtual Steakhouse Raises the Bar on Delivery with “Restaurant-at-Home” Experience

The Finishing Gourmet employs fine-dining servers for a high-touch and high-end concept they plan to grow.


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Franklin Becker Banks on the Rise of Ghost Kitchens To Kick-Start Three Restaurant Concepts

The chef is opening three new delivery and takeout-only restaurants from the same space in Soho next month.


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Mission Taco Joint Launches Ghost Kitchen of Milagro Modern Mexican Favorites

Milagro Modern Mexican may have closed its doors in 2018, but fans of the innovative Webster Groves restaurant never fully let go.


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Veggie Grill Opens Delivery-Only Concept Más Veggies Taqueria This Week

Veggie Grill is getting into the taqueria business with a new concept called Más Veggies Taqueria, which will launch this week in a few local spots for now.


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Dragontail Systems Creates Autonomous Drones for Food Deliveries

Dragontail Systems Limited, a software company that optimizes the entire restaurant order and delivery process for global brands like Dominos, KFC and Pizza Hut, announced the deployment of an autonomous drones control and optimization system to increase restaurants' delivery capabilities by flying meals to delivery drivers for pick-up in remote landing zones.


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Ghost Kitchens: How the New Cooking Concept Is Giving the Industry a Lifeline

How ghost kitchens, or kitchens without seating areas for costumers, are saving the restaurant industry. Jameel Laboo, co-owner of Wing Champ, shares how he pivoted his business, and Indhira Sturdivant, owner of Indy’s Kitchen, talks about why she launched her business in a ghost kitchen during the pandemic.


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Should I Open a Ghost Kitchen?

Why should you consider opening a Ghost Kitchen right now? It’s simple: because people are reliant on carry-out, which means they are constantly searching the Internet for the next place they want to try. And they are using different search terms these days as well. Is your restaurant set up to intercept their search traffic?


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Creating Virtual Restaurant Concepts

Michael Schatzberg “The Restaurant Guy” and Jimmy Frischling “The Finance Guy” sit down with Alex Canter, the chief executive officer of Ordermark and Nextbite, to explore the rise of virtual restaurant concepts in the industry.


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Big Brands Posing as Ghost Restaurants on Delivery Apps

Large franchise restaurants are also using their existing stores as ghost kitchens to only serve delivery orders.


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JustKitchen Is Using Cloud Kitchens To Create the Next Generation of Restaurant Franchising

JustKitchen currently operates its "hub and spoke" model in Taiwan, with plans to expand four other Asian markets, including Hong Kong and Singapore, and the United States this year.


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Cloud Kitchen Outlet Buddy Starts Home Delivery Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

Outlet Buddy is just like regular kitchens, the only difference is that it operates online making it much more convenient for their Merchants and other restaurant owners by giving them all, one single point of interaction to order food.


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GrabKitchen: Grab Malaysia’s First Cloud Kitchen Offers 11 Brands

Grab has finally launched its first GrabKitchen in Malaysia which offers several restaurant options under one roof. This allows customers to order food from multiple restaurants with just one delivery fee and it also allows businesses and independent brands to grow and expand more efficiently.


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Ghost Kitchens in South Africa

We’ve been looking into ghost kitchens in South Africa over the last couple of years and we have found it to be a fascinating world that most people don’t know about. It is a sub-sector that is showing furious growth in South Africa and we are excited to be part of it.


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