May 26, 2021

Ian Cook, Managing Editor

It’s amazing to see the impact that ghost kitchens are having on this industry. As is clear from this week’s news, a number of restaurants are employing the concept to either expand their brand, or to find new sources of revenue. Take Rego Restaurant group, for example, or Nathan’s Famous, or BurgerFi! Just this week each of them has announced greater expansion with this concept, leaving no doubt that the ghost kitchen concept is here to stay.

The Ghost Kitchen Conference is coming along very well! We’re just three weeks away now! We hope you’ll be able to join us for this one of a kind event!

Enjoy your Ghost Kitchen Digest! And have a great Memorial Day weekend.

Issue #44

Nathan’s Famous Doubles Down on Ghost Kitchens As Hottest QSR Trend Accelerates

It wasn’t long ago that the ghost kitchen concept – and even the term – didn’t exist. But today, after 14 months of pandemic-related lifestyle changes, ghost kitchens have gone from the fringe of acceptance to a mainstay of the restaurant industry.


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BurgerFi Doubles Down on Ghost Kitchens

The chain currently has nine in operation, with plans to add 15 to 20 more of the delivery-only locations this year. BurgerFi has partnered with ghost kitchen providers Reef Technology and Epic Kitchens as it expands, CEO Julio Ramirez told analysts Thursday.


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Noodles & Company Makes Its Ghost Kitchen Debut in Chicago

Noodles & Company (NASDAQ: NDLS), the national fast casual brand known for serving globally-inspired noodle dishes made fresh to order, is excited to announce the launch of its first ghost kitchen test in Chicago.


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Quiznos, a Fraction of Its Peak Size, Turns to Ghost Kitchens

Enter ghost kitchens. Quiznos’ parent company, Rego Restaurant Group, this week announced a deal with Ghost Kitchen Brands to put the chain, along with sister concept Taco Del Mar, into 100 of its ghost kitchens in the U.S. and Canada by the end of this year.


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Famous Dave's Soars Past Pre-Pandemic Levels

Construction has begun on two prototypes. One is a line-service model in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, set to debut in September. The other is a drive-thru scheduled to open in Salt Lake City in July. Five brick-and-mortar stores and 15 ghost kitchens are also in the pipeline.


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Smokey Bones Ghost Kitchen in Chicago Moves to Kitchen United MIX Location

Smokey Bones' Chicago ghost kitchen is moving to the new Kitchen United MIX location, a multi-ordering concept located at 205 W. Wacker Drive. Beginning on Wednesday, May 19, guests can still order for pick up or delivery from smokeybones.com, kitchenunited.com and using third-party delivery apps. Guests can now also order through the MIX onsite ordering kiosk and dine-in at the virtual food hall.


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Ghost Kitchen Provider JustKitchen Expanding to US

JustKitchen, a ghost kitchen provider headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, is plotting an international expansion with ambitions to open locations in the U.S. this year, specifically targeting the West Coast, according to a press release.


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Shawn Walchef on Digital Innovation During the Pandemic and Opening a 'Friendly' Ghost Kitchen

Even before the pandemic, Walchef preached the importance of digital marketing and innovation in the food world — both at his own restaurant and on a podcast called Digital Hospitality, where he invites industry leaders to share what they know.


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NASCAR on Its Marks, Gets Set To Launch Virtual Restaurant

NASCAR and Virtual Dining Concepts are gearing up to bring racetrack concession-inspired fare to consumers’ doorsteps via a new virtual restaurant.


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How To Best Build a Virtual Brand

Ordermark Founder Alex Canter joins the RB podcast “A Deeper Dive” to talk about the best strategies for creating virtual brands.


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America’s 57 Most Exciting Virtual Brands

We might forget this someday, but ghost kitchens and virtual restaurant concepts were not a product of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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New Chuck Norris-Themed Ghost Kitchen Opens in Sarasota

There’s no need to break out the nunchucks to get a good meal. Cluck Norris Ass-Kickin’ Chicken, home of “black-belt quality” food, is now open in Sarasota.


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A Virtual Restaurant Brand To Support Bitcoin, ‘Take On’ Big Pizza

Bitcoin Pizza Day is coming up, which makes it an apt time to launch a bitcoin-themed virtual pizza restaurant. Anthony Pompliano, an entrepreneur and investor, announced today he is launching Bitcoin Pizza, a pop-up restaurant brand that will partner with independent pizza shops to deliver pies from May 22–29.


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Olo and the Rise of ‘Digital Entirety’ in the Restaurant Industry

Noah Glass used to tout a seemingly ambitious milestone when outlining his company’s long-term vision. The day Olo achieved 51 percent of sales for a customer would represent the moment it became the majority order channel for that restaurant. And others would soon follow.


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Wingstop Announces Minority Investment in U.K. Franchisee

Wingstop the award-winning wing concept with more than 1,500 locations worldwide, today announced a minority investment in the UK business, which is operated by its UK franchisee, Lemon Pepper Holdings Ltd. (LPH). This investment follows strong performance in the UK and underscores the brand's confidence in the market as a key growth lever for global expansion.


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The Future of C-Stores: Working with Ghosts

With a number of trends creating potential challenges for the long-term health of the c-store industry, operators should plan now for the future — and that means leaning into ghost kitchens to defend and expand market share.


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Food Halls, Ghost Kitchens and the Future of In-Store Restaurants

The pandemic hasn’t dampened grocers' enthusiasm for dining experiences, and many are looking to new formats and digital services to spice things up.


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The Rise of Ghost Kitchens: What to Know

To accommodate increased consumer interest in off-premises dining without creating additional overhead, many operators turned to a virtual restaurant model. Some began experimenting with “ghost” kitchens.


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The Rise Of Ghost Kitchens | Distinguished

Ghost kitchens, also known as virtual restaurants; cloud, commissary, or shared kitchens; and delivery-only, shadow, and dark kitchens, are the restaurant industry’s newest attempt to feed into the ever-growing on-demand consumer culture.


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How To Start a Ghost Kitchen

What is a ghost kitchen and how do you start one? Here's an all-in-one guide to launching your ghost kitchen.


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