OnTrend Concepts

February 3, 2021

Peter Cook, Editor

Get ready for another packed newsletter! Ghost kitchen operators and services continue to take advantage of the new restaurant landscape by developing some fascinating concepts. Kitchen United and Zuul are among the most popular ghost kitchens, and both companies are innovating their concept to reach more people. Restaurant brands Bloomin’ Brands, Brinker International and others continue to showcase success in the sphere. There’s a ton of great things happening in this space.

The Ghost Kitchen Conference is looking to be a major success with registrations pouring in and a fantastic lineup of speakers. We’re looking forward to meeting you there!

Have a great week! And enjoy your Ghost Kitchen Digest.

Issue #28

Kitchen United and Westfield Team Up To Bring Ghost Kitchen Tech to the Mall

Westfield Valley Fair said it will use Kitchen United technology to make it easier to order food for pickup and delivery from the mall.

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Zuul Begins Licensing Technology As It Scales Up Unique Delivery Model

Ghost kitchen provider Zuul is now licensing its proprietary technology platform, giving restaurants the ability to essentially become their own ghost kitchens and tap into its network of building partners.

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Sam Nazarian's C3 Ghost Kitchen Concept To Set Up Shop in Hotels

There’s a vacancy in hotel foodservice, and a ghost kitchen is checking in. In a new spin on the model, ghost kitchen concept C3 said last week it is teaming up with a hotel chain to operate delivery-focused food halls inside its properties.

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Capriotti’s, REEF's Partner on Baltimore’s First Ghost Kitchen

Sandwich chain Capriotti's Sandwich Shop is partnering with REEF's Neighborhood Kitchens, known for transforming underutilized urban spaces into neighborhood hubs and kitchens, to continue expanding its brand by launching a ghost kitchen space.

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With Help from a Virtual Brand, Chili's Sees Near-Normal Sales in January

Parent Brinker International revealed plans to expand It's Just Wing's reach and to digitize more of the Chili's experience.

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Brinker Looks To Add Takeout for Virtual It's Just Wings Brand

Brinker plans to double down on its virtual brand It's Just Wings by selling its menu items for takeout at Chili's restaurants, which would circumvent third-party commission fees for delivery and drive more of those sales to the bottom line, Brinker CEO Wyman Roberts said.

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Coolgreens Opening First Virtual Kitchen in Orlando

Coolgreens is giving the Orlando community a taste of food that “feeds your life” through its first-ever virtual kitchen.

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Bloomin' Brands Wants To Out-Ghost Kitchen Ghost Kitchens

Eyeing a multichannel future, Outback’s parent is expanding a virtual chicken brand and taking Aussie Grill virtual as well.

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Muscle Maker Adds Burger Joe’s to Brand Lineup

Muscle Maker announced the addition of Burger Joe’s to its non-traditional portfolio. The company plans to launch four additional brands that showcase prominent menu categories throughout 2021.

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BurgerFi Rides Digital Momentum into 2021

BurgerFi expects to open between 30 and 35 company-run and franchised locations in 2021, or annual growth of roughly 30 percent.

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Mealco Raises $7M To Enable Chefs To Launch and Manage Virtual Restaurants Using Just a Phone

Mealco raised $7 million in seed funding. The round was led by Rucker Park Capital with participation from FJLabs, which also invested in Uber, Postmates, Slice, Delivery Hero, and Chowbus. Reshape, 2048.vc, and Oceans Ventures joined the round, together with angel investors including Jonathan Zabusky, former CEO of Seamless.

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Farm Burger Launches a Ghost Kitchen in Buckhead Serving Chicken Sandwiches

Takeout and delivery-only restaurant Farm Birds is based out of Farm Burger’s Buckhead location serving a menu of Southern fried chicken sandwiches.

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Kitch Launches in Saudi Arabia and the UAE

Cloud kitchen and store-front operator, Kitch, has officially launched in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, after privately raising $15 million.

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

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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0 to 300: How Virtual Concepts Are Blowing Up Overnight

MrBeast Burger, a virtual concept tied to YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, launched in nearly 300 locations across 35 states on Dec. 21. Thanks to his legion of subscribers, restaurants quickly sold out of his “Beast Style” burgers and fries. The MrBeast Burger app vaulted to No. 1 in the Apple Store. And restaurateur Robert Earl gained a few more gray hairs.

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Ghost Kitchens and Delivery-Only Restaurants May Be Too Popular for Their Own Good

Prices for ghost kitchens are soaring, and restaurant operators are uncertain about the long-term viability of the model.

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Should Food Robot Startups Build Their Own Food Brand or Borrow One (or Do Both)?

The direction a robotics startup chooses will impact their ability scale, an especially important factor if they take VC money. Primarily, it’s an issue of workload and focus.

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How Joan Created a Brand Identity for ‘Ghost Kitchen’ Purveyor Zuul

Joan Creative worked on the new look for Zuul, which aims to capture the feel of a busy restaurant. “Zuul really loves chefs and restaurants, not just tech. So when people think of Zuul, we want them to think of the true character of a classic NYC restaurant,” said Jaime Robinson, co-founder and chief creative officer at JOAN.

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Ghost Kitchens: Just a Phase or Here To Stay?

It has been quite the year for the foodservice industry. Restaurants are struggling trying to adhere to the ever-changing guidelines. Some unfortunately have shuttered; and many have reimagined their concepts to fit the new normal.

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