February 17, 2021

Ian Cook, Managing Editor

First Tyga, then Mariah Carey, and now Guy Fieri! Each of them has worked with restauranteur Robert Earl to launch their own celebrity themed menus, becoming very popular in the virtual restaurant world. Inspire Brands is leading the charge in ghost kitchens this week with their new announcement to launch in Atlanta. But are the spread of ghost kitchens the best thing that ever happened to restaurants, hotels and even malls? Or are they shaping up to be a “one hit wonder” of 2020-21, soon to become a thing of the past? Some great articles below attempt to answer that question.

We hope your week is off to a great start! While you fight through a post-Fat Tuesday workday today, catch a break to read up on some news, and enjoy your Ghost Kitchen Digest.

Issue #30

Welcome to Flavortown, Population: Us

Guy Fieri partners with Robert Earl, king of themed restaurants, on Flavortown ghost restaurants throughout the country.


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Dunkin' Owner Inspire Brands Launching $2.6M 'Ghost Kitchen'

How significant is the "ghost kitchen" trend? America's second-biggest restaurant company is getting in on the action.


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Coolgreens Launches Subscription Service at the Brand’s First Virtual Kitchen in Orlando

Coolgreens — the 11-unit, fast-casual salad and wraps brand based out of Oklahoma City — just opened their first virtual kitchen in Orlando, Florida.


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‘Society Is Very Ready for This’: ‘Ghost Kitchens’ with No Physical Footprint Grow in Popularity amid COVID-19 Pandemic

From a small kitchen near downtown Baltimore, workers prepare chicken sandwiches, chicken fingers and waffle fries for hungry customers of one of the city’s newest dining establishments.


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BJ’s Restaurants Steps into Virtual Brand Wars

It only made sense for BJ’s to begin testing Slo Roast, its new virtual concept. BJ’s has recently averaged roughly $28,000 in off-premises sales per restaurant, per week, which is still more than double pre-COVID sales. More than 80 percent of those orders are placed through digital channels as well.


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Smashburger's President Explains Why the Company Is Shunning Ghost Kitchen and Instead Focusing on Prime Real Estate

Smashburger is currently shunning the idea of opening designated ghost kitchens, which have no dine-in areas and cook food solely for take-out and delivery.


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1,000 Tropos ABLE(TM) XR Units To Be Deployed To Help Food-Service Industry

Tropos Technologies, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based company specializing in producing all-electric compact utility vehicles (eCUVs), announced today that it has entered into a strategic alliance with BIB Technologies in a deal worth $25,000,000.


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Automat Kitchen Puts Modern Spin on Classic No-Contact Format

A new attempt at an old idea was launched in New Jersey last month with the debut of Automat Kitchen. This is not your grandparents’ automat.


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Restaurant Vets Launch OrderB4 Ghost, Virtual Kitchen Management

Rapid-fire growth of ghost kitchens and virtual restaurants is setting off yet another land rush in the off-premises restaurant space as developers rush to create seamless software for operators managing multiple delivery-only concepts.


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Torchy's Tacos Expansion to Reach Florida, Arizona in 2022

The CEO of Torchy's Tacos talks about where the chain will grow next, its first ghost kitchen and where he sees revenue a year from now.


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Two New Ghost Kitchen Concepts from Jose Garces Open in Philadelphia

There are new takeout options now available in Philadelphia. Chef Jose Garces has opened two ghost kitchens.


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Famous Dave’s CEO Jeff Crivello on Smart Investing in Ghost Kitchens, Dual Brands, and Virtual Concepts

Famous Dave’s has pivoted during the pandemic toward a smaller physical footprint and larger digital footprint.


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Why MrBeast Is the Most Important Restaurant Concept in the U.S. Right Now

The concept’s incredible early popularity is a test of the potential of virtual concepts, and whether such concepts can get off the ground without the benefit of a big chain and its existing infrastructure. If these early returns prove to be lasting, MrBeast could well launch an awful lot of competitors. It may already be doing so.


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Youtuber MrBeast’s Virtual Restaurant Brand Could Be the Future of Franchising

MrBeast Burger is the latest celebrity-endorsed virtual kitchen concept — and it could change the landscape of the franchising industry moving forward.


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How Virtual Brands Saved This Fast Casual in 2020

Dog Haus sales took a massive hit last spring. But the brand’s pivot to proprietary virtual concepts brought the system roaring back to life.


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Stumped by COVID-19, Food Halls Find Refuge in Virtual Spaces

Food halls were all the rage before the pandemic, but also one of the worst business models for social distancing. Their solution? The virtual space, of course.


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Virtual Restaurant Brands Continue To Flood the Market Nationwide

Here’s the latest roundup of new off-premise concepts available for delivery only, offering everything from Japanese rice balls to high-end cocktails.


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How a Shadow Army of Ghost Kitchens Took Over America’s Restaurants

Inside the brave new world of data-driven, search-optimized virtual restaurants that exist only on DoorDash and GrubHub.


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Ghost Kitchens Bring Vacant Locations Back to Life

When ghost kitchens first entered the food industry, it was the mysteriousness behind what they were about, what they represented and what this meant for the future of foodservice that proved to be most intriguing.


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Ghost Kitchens Could Be $1 Trillion Opportunity in Next Decade

CNBC's Kate Rogers reports on the rise of ghost kitchens during the coronavirus pandemic.


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Why Setting Up ‘Ghost Kitchens’ Shouldn’t Scare Forward-Thinking Hoteliers

Whether you call them ghost kitchens or virtual restaurants, hoteliers hobbled by COVID-19 are well positioned to set up delivery-only food services—relatively low-investment businesses that are expected to flourish well beyond the pandemic.


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Ghost Kitchens Are Moving into Malls: Can This Save Them?

Ghost kitchens, which need space but don't rely on foot traffic, have been a great way to fill at least part of the void. But malls will still have to come up with new ways to stay in business long term.


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Another Wendy's Ghost Kitchen Is Opening in Toronto Where a 7-Eleven Used To Be

Wendy's has been rolling out ghost kitchens around Toronto, and another one has recently appeared where a 7-Eleven used to be.


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Tomahawk Launches Two Virtual Restaurant Delivery Brands

Northern-based Steakhouse group Tomahawk has launched two virtual delivery brands out of its newly-opened Hoxton restaurant.


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Grab Launches Second Cloud Kitchen in Sampaloc, Manila

A year after the launch of its maiden GrabKitchen branch in the Philippines, everyday everything app Grab today announced the launch of its second cloud kitchen branch.


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Ghost Kitchen Bangladesh Signs MoU with Holy Fries

Ghost Kitchen Bangladesh (GKB), Bangladesh’s first internet restaurant marketplace, has inked a deal with Holy Fries, a restaurant based in the city at their corporate head office in Shanta Western Tower, Tejgaon.


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