April 14, 2021

Ian Cook, Managing Editor

Virtual food halls have been springing up here and there in the past year, but this week a new competitor has entered the arena: C3. They announced a partnership with Lunchbox which will allow customers to place orders from different menus, but have it all on the same tab and delivered at the same time. Another trend has been the use of open hotel kitchen space for ghost kitchens. Bennigan’s is testing this concept with two hotels in Iowa.

Keep the sign up’s coming for The Ghost Kitchen Conference! We’re very excited for this event! At this revolutionary time for the restaurant industry, you can’t afford to miss hearing from and negotiating with the top names in ghost kitchens. We hope we’ll get to see you there!

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Issue #38

WOWorks Pursues Acquisitions, Ghost Kitchens To Drive Growth

Kelly Roddy, the holding company's CEO, says it plans to buy two to three more brands by the end of the year, as well as increase units via delivery-only locations and franchising.


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Bennigan's Puts Virtual Kitchens in Hotels As Growth Strategy Evolves

The casual-dining franchise has licensed its On The Fly offshoot to two hotels in Iowa and has plans for more.


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C3 and Lunchbox Launch a New App To Power Virtual Food Halls

Virtual restaurant company C3 and online order platform Lunchbox announced today the launch of a new restaurant app, CITIZENS GO. The app will provide ordering and delivery services for C3’s growing network of ghost kitchens, which number over 200 at this point.


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C3 Notches Joint Venture To Expand Soom Soom

C3 (Creating Culinary Communities), an omnichannel food and beverage platform founded by Sam Nazarian, announces a joint venture with Soom Soom, a family-owned Mediterranean fast causal brand with multiple locations in Los Angeles, to expand its presence nationwide through C3’s network of digital kitchens and upcoming food halls.


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Domino’s Launches Autonomous Delivery in Houston with Nuro

Domino’s Pizza announced Monday that the company has launched autonomous delivery in the Houston area in partnership with autonomous delivery company Nuro.


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Covid Created Technology: the Virtual Food Hall

Here’s a concept that seems stupidly simple but is actually a technologically complex feat: letting customers order from multiple virtual restaurants with a single digital transaction.


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One of the Most Persistent Problems in Food Service Has Been the Inefficiency of Restaurants: Franklin Junction

Aziz Hashim, Franklin Junction Founder & Former International Franchise Association Chairman joins the Yahoo Finance Live panel to discuss the rise of Ghost Kitchens.


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Shawn Walchef on "Friendly" Ghost Kitchens and Restaurant Storytelling

Shawn is the owner of Cali Comfort BBQ in San Diego and hosts the Digital Hospitality podcast. Since 2008, Cali Comfort has generated $25 million in sales from just one location. They just opened their second—a "friendly" ghost kitchen—a new chapter in the Cali BBQ story, with plans to scale with a "slow food fast" mentality.


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Local Kitchens Brings San Francisco Restaurants to Suburban Consumers

Local Kitchens, a new ghost kitchen concept that allows customers to order from multiple local restaurant brands, has opened in the San Francisco area with locations in Lafayette, San Jose and Cupertino, Calif.


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Next-Gen Brands: Thirsty Lion Retools for the Future

Thirsty Lion already had a solid foundation going into 2020 and was firing on all cylinders. In the space of two months it opened two new units in Phoenix and was in the process of moving its headquarters to Scottsdale, Arizona.


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Chef David Chang's Fuku Is a Hot Mess on Its Opening Day in Dallas

Last week The Dallas Morning News reported that James Beard Award-winning chef David Chang was opening three ghost kitchens in North Texas. Called Fuku, they will serve uber-trendy hot chicken “sandos” and strips.


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The Man Behind World's Largest Internet Restaurant Company

In the life of Jaydeep Barman, the story of Fassos has been the story of a traditional food brand reinventing the whole restaurant industry and giving a new way of delivering food to customers through Dark Kitchens.


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Virtual Operator Stay’d Pushes Hospitality into Delivery

High-touch, hospitality-minded restaurant folks are more than ready to bring people back into restaurants. But the founders behind delivery-only virtual restaurant brand Stay’d are looking to bring some of that high-touch hospitality to the delivery experience.


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Ghoster Combines the Art of Virtual Restaurants with Science

Ghoster is the latest early-stage virtual restaurant provider promising that a focus on operations and technology will make the difference for restaurants bringing new brands into their kitchens.


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From Ghost to On-Premises: 4 Best Practices for Going Face-to-Face

In the next few months, fast-casual concept, Hawaiian Bros., which specializes in traditional Hawaiian plate lunches and related fare, will open its first Texas storefronts after having run ghost kitchens in Austin and Dallas since May and September, respectively.


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McDonald’s, Subway, Exiting Walmart Stores

As fast-food chains McDonald’s and Subway slim their ties with Walmart, the retail giant has turned its attention to other major players, such as Taco Bell and Domino’s, according to The Wall Street Journal.


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Saladworks Is Part of Walmart Canada, Ghost Kitchen Brands Effort

Saladworks is among 20 brands participating in a partnership between Ghost Kitchen Brands and Walmart Canada that seeks to provide one-stop meal pickup and delivery service.


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Smokey Bones' Virtual Brand Revamp Returns Burger to Value-Based Roots

Burgers have gotten pretty darn tony on the virtual restaurant landscape, with prices to match. But one virtual brand thinks the real money is in the value-based burger.


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Why Fazoli’s Is One of the Pandemic’s Restaurant Winners

Since the arrival of COVID-19, Fazoli’s has shattered numerous records. It’s to the point where “unprecedented” doesn’t do it justice any longer.


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Inside Capriotti's Wing Zone Acquisition

How the fast-casual sandwich brand intends to make its new concept the No. 2 wing player behind Wingstop.


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Cash-Rich Ghost Kitchens Use Pandemic To Expand: MD Restaurants

New restaurants are popping up weekly across Maryland. Many owners brought in cash by doing delivery only during the coronavirus pandemic.


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Good-To-Go: Nashville Hot Chicken Pizza with Pickles at Zalat

At this point, Nashville hot chicken needs no introduction. We’re far past those awkward first days where we laugh a little too loud at each other’s jokes. At this point, it’s similar to an uncle who shows up for dinner on occasion; no introduction or nice napkins needed.


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The Future of Restaurants, Take-Out, and More

Youngme, Mihir, and Felix discuss the future of food delivery, ghost kitchens, virtual restaurant brands, and more.


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Why Ghost Kitchens Are Disrupting the Lodging Industry

The rise of ghost kitchens in the food and beverage industry started to pick up speed during the peaks of the pandemic as a way for restaurants to continue operations. Now, the trend is continuing to build momentum throughout the hospitality industry with its next stop being at local hotels.


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