June 9, 2021

Peter Cook, Publisher

The past year in the restaurant industry has been a tale of two concepts: ghost kitchens and virtual brands. And this week is no different. Kitchen United is on top of the action this week, because they recently partnered with UK brand Camile Thai, which is a takeout and delivery-only brand. In that regard, Camile Thai is similar to the virtual brands of which we are seeing more and more throughout the world. 2 other virtual brands to highlight this week are Dickey’s new virtual brand and Genghis Grill’s new virtual brand.

We also had the chance to hear from Scott Heim, Middleby’s President for Ventless Solutions, who gave us some great insights related to the ghost kitchen industry. Scott and his team from Middleby will be hosting a reception at their Middleby Innovation Kitchens after the Ghost Kitchen Conference next week for conference attendees.

Speaking of the conference, the speakers, the sponsors, the attendees and everything in between could not look better! And there’s still time to sign up! If you’re not already, please join us for this can’t-miss event.

Thank you for supporting us by subscribing to this newsletter. We hope you enjoy this week’s issue of your Ghost Kitchen Digest.

Issue #46

Camile Thai To Launch in US on Kitchen United’s Ghost Kitchens

Ghost kitchen tech provider Kitchen United and Camile Food Group have partnered to bring Camile Thai, a delivery and takeout-only brand, to the U.S., according to a Monday (June 7) press release.


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Actor Danny Trejo Brings His Tacos to a Chicago Ghost Kitchen

The pandemic suspension of indoor dining has allowed ghost kitchens with celebrity endorsers to haunt Chicago. Musicians and actors like Wiz Khalifa, Mario Lopez, and even the mayor of Flavortown himself — Guy Fieri — have used their names to sell chicken wings, rice bowls, and jalapeño poppers to Chicago residents.


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Ghost Kitchen Insights: An Interview with Scott Heim from Middleby

As we prepare for The Ghost Kitchen Conference, happening June 17 & 18, 2021 in Dallas (and IN PERSON!), we took some time to sit down with Scott Heim, President of Ventless Solutions for Middleby. Middleby is a leading foodservice equipment provider and an important partner with many leading restaurants and ghost kitchen operators.


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Dickey's Barbecue Adds New Virtual Concept Big Deal Burger

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is taking over as the next big deal in the virtual concept space with the launch of its newest delivery-only brand.


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How Genghis Grill Rolled Out Virtual Concept in 2 Months

Chief Brand Officer Doug Willmarth created a virtual concept — Stir Fry Chef — available now from 36 Genghis Grill locations. By July, all 50 locations will offer the delivery- and carry-out only concept.


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Cotton Patch Cafe Opens First Ghost Kitchen

Cotton Patch Cafe, a Texas-inspired, homestyle restaurant serving Southern classics, today announced the opening of its first ghost kitchen, located in Garland’s Revolving Kitchen, a virtual food hall.


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Rich Products Gets into the Spirit of Ghost Kitchens

The food products giant is collaborating with Nextbite to serve customers in Buffalo starting Tuesday. Rich Products will prepare the meals at its headquarters kitchen, to fulfill orders customers place digitally through Nextbite's virtual-only restaurants.


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Restaurateur Shawn Walchef's San Diego

Walchef founded the casual concept Cali BBQ more than a dozen years ago, and in 2017 he added a media component with the Digital Hospitality podcast. Now, the pandemic has led Cali BBQ to expand into the digital realm with ghost kitchens.


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Five Guys Has Opened Its First Ghost Kitchen, Which Only Cooks Food for Delivery

Five Guys opened their first ghost kitchen in the US that has no dining room and only cooks food for delivery. Guests can only get food from the Garland, Texas location when ordering takeaway from the Five Guys website or app, or through a third-party delivery service such as DoorDash, Grubhub, or Uber Eats.


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North Oakland Neighbors Petition Against New Ghost Kitchen

A fight over a ghost kitchen might stymie the return of Flint’s Barbecue.


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Lettuce Entertain You President Sees the Future of Restaurants as Brick and Mortar, Not Virtual

As Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE) marks its fiftieth year in business, president RJ Melman doesn’t see any signs of slowing down. The multiconcept operator has over 150 restaurants in several states across the country ranging from fast-casual to fine-dining and, during the pandemic, brought some closed concepts back as virtual restaurants.


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C3 Inks $100M Saudi Arabian Deal

C3, a food tech platform operating ghost kitchens, will introduce Saudi Arabia to 40 restaurant brands via a $100 million deal with the country's investment house, WK Holding.


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PlantX Announces New Ghost Kitchen as Part of Its Soon-To-Launch U.S. Meal Delivery Service

PlantX Life Inc. is pleased to announce that is has entered into a partnership to open a new PlantX branded “ghost kitchen”, which is a cooking facility used only to deliver meals, in Los Angeles, California.


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Virtual Kitchens Go Big as Digital Demand Remains Elevated

Virtual kitchens are growing in reach. Where once the launch of a single new ghost kitchen was something to be talked about, nowadays restaurants are unveiling plans to open 10 — or even several hundred — of them at a time as they discover the full potential of this burgeoning business model.


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Are Some Ghost Kitchens Review-Proof?

Our only interaction with one of the virtual ‘brands’ inside a ghost kitchen is through a food-tech platform. They need not advertise or popularize their brands outside of the platform, if they want to keep their operations limited.


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Robotic Startup Now Cuisine Takes On Ghost Kitchens and Drone Deliveries

The robotics industry is at an inflection point where the baton is being passed from the scientists to the practitioners. In historical terms, we are witnessing the Edisons of the world harness the innovations of the likes of Faraday to create life changing businesses and wealth.


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Untangling New Restaurant Terminology

As new restaurant models gain momentum, they’re not only top-of-mind for industry folks—they will become top-of-mind for consumers too. Insiders may tolerate the muddle for a while, but confusing consumers hurts the restaurant space as a whole. In an industry where consumers demand transparency and trustworthiness, spooky kitchen terms invite suspicion.


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