May 19, 2021

Peter Cook, Publisher

Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s, Jack in the Box, Quiznos, NASCAR, and more! Each of them with their own unique concepts rolling out. Chick-fil-A is jumping into the chicken wing game, which has been gaining a lot of traction since It’s Just Wings by Brinker launched at the beginning of 2020. Wendy’s made the news this week with an announcement that they plan to roll out a series of “nontraditional” stores. NASCAR is using its popularity to draw attention to its new virtual brand!

It’s a unique issue this week – a number of fun and unusual ideas – but certainly very interesting. We hope you enjoy!

We are also very excited to announce that The Ghost Kitchen Conference will have Middleby coming on as a Platinum Sponsor! They’re bringing very exciting offerings to the table. Not only will they be showcasing one of their ventless solutions, but they will also be hosting a post-conference reception at the Middleby Innovation Kitchens. We’re thrilled to be working with them, and we hope you can join us!

Issue #43

Chick-fil-A to Start a Virtual Brand

Chick-fil-A will soon enter the virtual brand wars. The 2,600-unit chicken chain said it will pilot a new delivery kitchen concept called Little Blue Menu later this year in Nashville and in 2022 in Atlanta.


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Wendy's Pursues Ghost Kitchens, Says 30% of New Units Will Be Nontraditional

Mobile ordering and delivery contributed to Q1 sales growth that inspired store designs made with delivery drivers in mind, Chief Development Officer Abigail Pringle said.


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Jack in the Box Retains High-Income Customers Gained During Pandemic, Driving 20.6% Same-Store Sales Growth

Jack in the Box attracted higher-income customers as the pandemic started, and the quick-service chain has retained many of them, which contributed to a 20.6% boost in same-store sales, executives at the San Diego-based chain said Wednesday as they announced quarterly earnings.


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Quiznos Parent REGO Restaurant Group Signs 100-Unit Deal with Ghost Kitchen Brands

Ghost Kitchen Brands will offer a select menu of Quiznos and Taco Del Mar most popular offerings, ensuring consumers will be able to enjoy their favorite selections.


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Ghost Kitchen Brands — a New Business Model To Pay Attention To

Ghost Kitchens are taking the Canadian market by storm with plans to have locations within 12km of every Canadian family and delivery times of 30 minutes or less.


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NASCAR Launches a Virtual Restaurant Brand

NASCAR Refuel, created in partnership with Virtual Dining Concepts, will offer a menu of racetrack favorites aimed at stock car fans.


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Starbird Chicken Opens in Walnut Creek, California

Starbird Chicken, the nation’s first super-premium fast food concept, announced today the opening of its newest restaurant in Walnut Creek, CA.


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Muscle Maker Grill Inc. Buys 13-Unit Pokemoto

Muscle Maker Grill Inc. has purchased Pokemoto, a 13-unit customizable poke bowl chain with restaurants in Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the company based in League City, Texas, said Tuesday.


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All Day Kitchens Has Now Raised $37.5 Million and Plans To Expand into Chicago and Texas

All Day Kitchens — the restaurant platform and ghost kitchen company formerly known as Virtual Kitchen Co. —announced Wednesday a series B fundraising round of $20 million, bringing the company’s total funding to $37.5 million.


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C3 Adds 20 New Executives to Leadership Team as It Plans To Open 300 New Ghost Kitchens This Year

While the restaurant industry faces a staffing challenge at-large, Los Angeles-based food and beverage platform C3 (Creating Culinary Communities) is building its staff quickly, hiring 20 new executives and 1,200 employees, as announced by the company this month.


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Pizza Robot Company Picnic Raises $16.3M

The labor crunch has driven "a spike in interest" for the company's bot that puts toppings on pies.


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Uber Co-Founder CloudKitchens Venture Pushes Ahead in Downtown San Jose

A venture controlled by Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick has proposed a revamp of a historic building in downtown San Jose that would transform the property into a site that would accommodate dozens of small commercial kitchens.


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Ghost Kitchen Nimbus Nabs 9K SF at 100 Willoughby Street

Nimbus signed a 10-year lease for the space on the ground floor of AvalonBay Communities’ 57-story residential building between Bridge and Duffield streets, according to Newmark. Asking rent was $125 per square foot.


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Channels of Trade for Restaurants in the Post-COVID Era

The restaurant industry will not return to the state it was in prior to the pandemic, is another statement you can add to the list of clichés. I have yet to converse with an industry peer who believes otherwise. Time will tell, of course. But if there was ever a universally accepted prognostication, this appears to be it.


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Expect More Delivery-Only Virtual Restaurant Brands, Says Olo CEO Noah Glass

Olo Inc., the on-demand commerce platform for multi-location restaurants, sees a robust future for virtual brands such as celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Kitchen and actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Kitchen, CEO Noah Glass said Tuesday.


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Celebrities Bring Sizzle to New Virtual Restaurant Brands from Nextbite

The SoftBank-backed startup launched a taqueria brand with comedian George Lopez and a "munchie menu" concept with rapper Wiz Khalifa.


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Meet the Newest Virtual Restaurant Brands from Dog Haus, Dickey’s and New Indies Joining the Market Share

Virtual brands continue their market domination as new ones continue to open amid the restaurant labor crisis and coronavirus pandemic.


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The Restaurant of the (Near) Future Will Be Designed for Multiple Revenue Streams, Minimal Costs

Double drive-thrus, side-gig virtual brands and expanded outdoor seating will be must-have features for restaurants in 2022.


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How Trust Will Define the Future of the Restaurant Industry

According to Morgan Stanley, food delivery will be a $470 billion market by 2025, an obvious mark of shifting consumer behavior and the premium we place on convenience. A new restaurant model has emerged to meet this demand, accelerated by the pandemic and built specifically for off-premises dining.


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Delivery-Only Model Drives Newfound Business for Restaurant Brands

Building on a pandemic-fueled trend, brands including Brinker, Denny’s and Applebee’s expand off-premises dining with new ‘virtual’ concepts that are churning sales and fattening profit margins.


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The 5 Types of Ghost Kitchen Explained

Cooking equipment manufacturer Rational classifies ghost kitchens into five distinct types, representing various business models and operational set-ups.


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JustKitchen Announces New Ghost Kitchen Location in World Famous Taipei 101 Tower

Just Kitchen, an operator of ghost kitchens specializing in the development of delivery-only food brands for customers, is pleased to announce that it has recently opened a new ghost kitchen in the world-famous Taipei 101 skyscraper as its 15th location in Taiwan.


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Invasion of the Self-Serve Pizza Robots

CRG is currently developing self-serve pizza and ice cream robotic vending units. Yep, that’s right: pizza and ice cream robots! They are also the developer of a ghost kitchen program in partnership with Reef Technologies. The company has a focus on sustainability and providing plant-based options.


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