March 3, 2021

Ian Cook, Managing Editor

When it comes to ghost kitchens and virtual brands, there’s always something new! As evidence of this, Walmart is working with Ghost Kitchen Brands in Ontario where they’ve debuted a kitchen in one of their stores. Will it be the first of many? Big news hits the press this week for Olo who filed for an IPO for $100M; and Waitr and Bite Squad add Nextbite virtual brands to their offering. Speaking of virtual brands, the New York Times came out with a great piece this week diving into the virtual brand franchising model. It’s titled “You’ve Heard of Ghost Kitchens. Meet the Ghost Franchises.”.

We hope you continue to have a great week! Please reach out to us at contact@ontrendconcepts.com to let us know what you think of the newsletter. Enjoy your Ghost Kitchen Digest!

Issue #32

How Noodles & Company Is Building a Pipeline for New Unit Growth

Armed with new restaurant designs, new menu items and new operational efficiencies, the fast casual said it is primed to start opening more locations.


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Hawaiian Bros Plans Growth in Texas

The popular Hawaiian fast casual concept, Hawaiian Bros, has plans for immediate growth in Texas, bringing the humble Aloha spirit with them. Each restaurant features a striking design and island vibe with a kitchen void of freezers, fryers and microwaves. Food is prepared fresh daily.


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White Castle Ghost Kitchen To Stay Closed Until Late Spring

White Castle did not reopen its ghost kitchen operation in Orlando, Florida on Thursday as originally planned, and will instead wait to resume operations when its brick-and-mortar location in Orlando opens in late spring.


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Waitr and Bite Squad Add Nextbite Delivery-Only Virtual Brands

Waitr Holdings Inc. has added the first group of Nextbite delivery-only virtual brands to its Waitr and Bite Squad on-demand platforms.


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Olo Files To Go Public with $100M Offering

Software company Olo filed for an initial public offering on Friday with plans to raise $100 million, according to an S-1 filing.


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Fabio Viviani on Investing in a Virtual Brand Development Company To Bring His Dishes to New Markets

The Chicago chef is partner in FoodHaul, which creates delivery/takeout-only brands that other restaurant operators can license to generate revenue.


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Thirsty Lion-Parent Concept Entertainment Group Dives into the Virtual Trend with ‘Online Food Hall’

Concept Entertainment Group, parent of the 10-unit Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill, has created a menu of virtual brands that allows customers to mix and match items from different concepts for takeout and delivery.


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The Sharing Economy for Restaurant Operators

Franklin Junction's business model is to offer restaurants with excess kitchen space and staffing to become "Host Kitchens®" (not ghost) sites for the company's "partner concept" clients looking to expand into new markets.


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Franklin Becker Introduces Lineup of Ghost Kitchens in SoHo

Franklin Becker believes consolidating multiple concepts to operate out of one kitchen is the wave of the future.


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Local Kitchens in Lafayette Cooks Up 5 Virtual Restaurants

Ghost kitchens were quietly growing in popularity before the coronavirus pandemic struck, but now they are embraced as a model for the future. Lafayette has one of the first: Local Kitchens, a vanguard in the movement.


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Sin City Opens Its First Ghost Kitchen, Vegas Test Kitchen

Vegas Test Kitchen is an exciting new ghost kitchen concept empowering chefs and delighting the local community with unique culinary experiences.


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Making Virtual Kitchens Chef Ready

These days, the industry continues to attract entrepreneurs but in a slightly different manner. Enter Nili Malach Poynter, president of ChefReady, a Colorado-based ghost kitchen operation.


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Delivery Provider Hungr Launches Turnkey Virtual Restaurant Brands in Partnership with US Foods

The third-party delivery service Hungr on Monday announced the debut of its own portfolio of virtual brands available for restaurants to bolt onto their existing business.


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Walmart Canada Partners with Ghost Kitchens To Bring Food to Customers

Walmart Canada is expanding into the restaurant industry — the virtual kind, at least. On Monday, the company became the latest to embrace the “virtual kitchen” trend, partnering with Ghost Kitchen Brands to offer food delivery to customers at its location in St. Catharines, Ont., the first of many to come.


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Asia's Cloud Kitchens Expect Delivery Boom to Outlast COVID

For Taiwan-based cloud kitchen operator JustKitchen, the yearlong pandemic has opened a doorway into Asia's modern restaurant industry.


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You’ve Heard of Ghost Kitchens. Meet the Ghost Franchises.

Virtual food brands, often driven by real celebrities, are rapidly spreading across the country. Do they help or hurt independent restaurants?


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As Restaurants Recover, Their Success Formula Will Change

Off-premise innovations like ghost kitchens will characterize the industry going forward, a Duff & Phelps analysis says.


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Restaurants Get a Refresh

During the eerie year just past, ‘ghost kitchens’ made their mainstream debut, with fully stocked and staffed commissary-style kitchens and mobile food trailers strategically parked near urban hot spots to pump out delivery-only orders for Uber Eats and other apps.


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Why Should You Convert Your Restaurant into a Micro Cloud Kitchen - and How

As online ordering increases and food deliveries see a boost like never before, micro cloud kitchens allow restaurants to leverage their existing resources such as equipment, supply chain and staff, to create additional delivery-only virtual brands and expand their offering.


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The Real Reason There Are Suddenly So Many Virtual Food Brands

While some restaurants have failed, there are those that have thrived, particularly those who went into the pandemic with a solid take-out model.


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