March 31, 2021

Ian Cook, Managing Editor

Several restaurant brands that have been utilizing ghost kitchens are showing great promise for the road ahead! Saladworks, for example, is going to be opening 90 new locations in 2021 in an agreement they have with Ghost Kitchen Brands. Other players in the ghost kitchen game include Famous Dave’s, Mendocino Farms, and, of course, Chili’s. Speaking of which, they are now offering their virtual brand for pick up!

Now is the time to sign up for The Ghost Kitchen Conference! After a year long events draught, we greatly look forward to meeting you there.

As you prep for Easter this weekend, we hope you find some time to sit down and enjoy your Ghost Kitchen Digest. All the best!

Issue #36

Saladworks Signs Deal with Ghost Kitchen Brands To Open 90 Non-Traditional Locations by End of 2021

Saladworks, the nation's leading fast-casual salad brand, has partnered with Ghost Kitchen Brands in a deal that will double its footprint across the United States and Canada and better serve its delivery and in-restaurant guests.


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Noodles & Company's New CFO Talks How Ghost Kitchens, Drive-Thrus Will Shape the Chain's Future

Carl Lukach, who started at the chain in November, says 70% to 80% of the stores built this year will have a drive-thru pickup window.


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Chili's Adds a Takeout Option for Its Virtual Concept, It's Just Wings

The chicken wing concept now lets customers place pickup orders through Google and Google Maps.


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How the Pandemic Is Shaping the Future of Mendocino Farms

The 37-unit fast casual is still growing, but those expansion plans look a bit different than they did a year ago.


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Famous Dave’s Witnesses a Boom in Sales

Like many others in the casual-dining industry, Famous Dave’s is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.


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Piestro Adds Pay-With-Your Face Tech and Cubbies for Pickup

Robotic pizza vending startup Piestro announced today that it has partnered with PopID to integrate pay-with-your face technology into Piestro’s machines.


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Clyde's Restaurant Group Launches Virtual Brand with NHL Star

Clyde’s Restaurant Group, a Graham Holdings Company subsidiary, announced today the launch of 43 Burger, a collaboration with Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson.


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How Golden Corral Is Adapting to New Realities

The pandemic accelerated the buffet chain’s evolution into other service formats. Here are some of the avenues it’s pursuing.


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Those Cosmic Wings You Had Delivered? They’re Really from Applebee’s

Applebee’s is ringing up hundreds of thousands of dollars in new sales a week for wings made in the chain’s kitchens. But the Cheetos-coated chicken isn’t sold in its actual restaurants or directly under its name.


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Influencers Are Infiltrating Ghost Kitchens, with the Help of Planet Hollywood’s Founder

Earl is the founder of Virtual Dining Concepts. At its core, it’s a ghost kitchen company — meaning it connects industrial kitchens with restaurants that only distribute through dining apps like DoorDash. But there’s a Planet Hollywood-esque spin.


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Focusing on Virtual Restaurant Brands and Ghost Kitchens

In this episode, host Paul Barron sits down with Sam Nazarian, the chief executive officer of C3, to explore how Nazarian doubled his virtual restaurant company online sales—a jump from $20 billion to $40 billion—over the course of the pandemic.


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How the Tesla of Chicken Hit a Ludicrous Growth Mode Thanks to Ghost Kitchens

Plant-based Nuggs embraced cloud kitchens as a way to just get product into people’s hands. Now it’s a vital testing lab and marketing tool.


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In the Shadows

Is the ghost kitchen model post-pandemic proof?


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New App from Dallas' Top Ghost Kitchen Creates Innovative Virtual Food Hall

Ghost kitchens have been one of the biggest post-pandemic success stories in the Dallas restaurant world, providing a place for restaurant operators to do a "restaurant" that is entirely to go.


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The Evolution of the Ghost Kitchen

While many restaurant operators have either explored the ghost kitchen opportunity or been forced into it headlong, there’s no question the model is not only gaining traction, but rapidly evolving beyond the original back-alley grill-to-courier model.


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‘Customer Behaviour Has Accelerated Growth in Online Food Delivery’ – CEO, KLC Virtual Restaurants

Cloud kitchens were among the various technologies that raced ahead to leverage the social restrictions bought on by the pandemic. Cloud kitchens – commercial facilities purpose-built to produce food to be delivered to customers at home or work – gained steam as the overall F&B industry was put through the wringer.


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Cloud Kitchen Operator iKcon Raises $20 Million in Series A

UAE-based cloud kitchen operator iKcon has raised a $20 million Series A funding round led by regional investment groups including Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Group, AlTouq Group, Derayah Ventures, B&Y Venture Partners, AbdulMohsin Al Houkair Holding Group, and Nazer Group.


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Kitch Founder Walid Hajj Is on a Mission To "Reimagine Restaurants."

When this entrepreneur, who’s been in the restaurant business for more than two decades, decided to join hands with Veda Holding founder Fahad Alhokair to launch Kitch, it’s easy enough to understand why most of us had to sit up and take notice of this new venture.


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This F&B Entrepreneur Is Helping Under-Utilized Kitchens Turn a Profit with a New Venture

In response to the changes in our lives due to the pandemic, restaurateur Vincent Lua started eatwhatnxt as a way to assist struggling F&B players


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Building Your Off-Premises Tech Stack

The food on demand space has a massive group of shiny objects that promise to make marketing, operations and deliveries easier. Sorting all that out while you’re also trying to run the day-to-day business can be quite daunting.


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Ghost Kitchens Save Restaurant Industry During Pandemic, but Future Is Unknown

Unlike the arrival of food trucks, which often were met by hostile restaurant inspectors and local politicians wanting to protect brick and mortar restaurants, ghost kitchens weren’t getting much notice from the general public until recently.


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