OnTrend Concepts

July 22, 2021

Peter Cook, Editor

We’ve been at the Ghost Kitchen Digest for exactly one year now!  Happy anniversary!  In celebration of the anniversary, this issue is free for everyone!  Oh, wait, these are always free…


There is no slowdown in the news surrounding ghost kitchens and virtual brands.  Lots of excitement and investment, even as on-premise opens up for restaurants.  Please feel free to share your company news with us so we can include it in the Ghost Kitchen Digest.


And now, the news…

Issue #52

How Virtual Restaurants Could Become a $1 Trillion Industry

Virtual restaurants started showing up on delivery apps about five years ago. And in that time, digital ordering and delivery has grown three times as fast as dining in.

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20 Disruptive Ghost Kitchen Startups (2021)

Every year, new tech startups and shared spaces are joining this sector. We’ve rounded up some of the fastest-growing ghost kitchen companies that you should follow in 2021.

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From Busboy to Millionaire: How This Bangladeshi Immigrant Made His Big Break in the U.S. Restaurant Industry

Nice to see this article about our friend Nabeel (and happy birthday yesterday, Nabeel!). Lunchbox founder Nabeel Alamgir has worked his way up from bussing tables at a fast food chain to securing $20 million in VC funding.

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Takeout and Curbside Customers Stick Around at Darden

Why, despite optimism for reopening, these off-premises routines from guests might be here to stay.

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Ruby Tuesday to Serve Virtual Barbecue Brand In-Store

Ruby Tuesday is bringing Libby's BBQ, which was originally conceived as a delivery-only brand, to all of its locations.

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O’Charley’s CEO Craig Barber on how their virtual brands stand out

Barber discusses O’Charley’s pandemic-era digital transformation, particularly the new ghost kitchens they created out of the back of their brick and mortar kitchens

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Crave Hospitality to License Its Virtual Food Hall Software

The Boise, Idaho-based company developed a robust system for its own business and is now selling it to other restaurants, starting with chef Michael Mina.

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Tech Roundup: Virtual Brands Get Physical

Some restaurants are bringing their online-only concepts into the "real" world.

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BJ's Restaurants Stock Up 121% in Past Year: More Room to Run?

BJ's Restaurants has been benefitting from digital efforts, loyalty program and other sales-building initiatives. Also, focus on off-premise business model and product introduction have been important factors for sales improvement.

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Franklin Junction Looks To Add Virtual Arthur Treacher's Brand To 100 Restaurants' Offerings

“In our research, seafood has shown to be one of the most underserved cuisines in delivery,” said Franklin Junction CEO Rishi Nigam.

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Atlanta-based 'ghost kitchen' company plots local expansion

With the 'ghost kitchen' restaurant model gaining popularity, another company is planning an Atlanta expansion.

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Fast-food chains like Five Guys and Wendy's break down the top 6 reasons why they opened ghost kitchens during the pandemic

Ghost kitchens are one of the biggest restaurant trends to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, due to surging demand for delivery.

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Fantasma Kitchens Opening Three Ghost Kitchens in Fort Worth

Fantasma Kitchens, the new ghost kitchen concept from Fort Worth chef and restaurateur, Lanny Lancarte, will open on the North Side of Fort Worth in September 2021.

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JustKitchen Seems North-Bound With TGIF Agreement and 20th Ghost Kitchen

The Toronto Stock Exchange-traded company inks top-tier brands clientele as its popularity rises globally

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JustKitchen Signs Collaborative Agreements with Foodpanda and Zeek to Reach More On-Demand Customers in Hong Kong

The Company Has Also Secured Its Second Ghost Kitchen Location in Hong Kong, Located in the Affluent Mid-Levels Residential Area

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Virtual restaurants: a White Paper on the trends and start-ups powering change in 2021

As we begin to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis, the challenges for many bricks and mortar food businesses are: labour shortages, revenue drops, empty buildings and layoffs. It's never been an easy industry, but it's never been quite this difficult either.

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Ghost kitchens don’t work for everyone

Ghost kitchens are great for expanding concepts, but not so great for an immersive experience.

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The Evolution of Dining: Ghost Kitchens

Well before Covid took the air out of the foodservice industry last spring, operators began turning to ‘ghost kitchens’ to try new concepts while minimizing investment and risk.

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Diversification key to success for independent convenience services market leader

Trolley House Refreshments in Richmond, Virginia, was able to sustain much of their foodservice business by expanding into a virtual restaurant when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

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The new trend of food tech: cloud kitchen

Victor Chow, founder of food tech startup 3SQUARE, share with us what is cloud kitchen.

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Perfecting To-Go-Only Service

For some area restaurants, the Covid-19 crisis led to menu and brand innovation, including delivery-only concepts.

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Dark kitchens shine a light on future profitability for restaurants

Given diminishing returns, shrinking margins and skyrocketing rents, it’s no wonder some restaurateurs have been on the lookout for a new way to bolster their bottom lines.

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Grocery Retailers Invest in Ghost Kitchens

Many restaurants started ghost kitchens out of necessity during the pandemic in order to keep their businesses afloat. As grocery retailers look to grow, some are investing in ghost kitchens as well.

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Connecting Multifamily Operators with Ghost Kitchens: The Economics of Private Delivery

White paper examining how multifamily (apartment) operators should look at ghost kitchens.

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3 Ways Ghost Kitchens Are The Future Of Experiential Retail

Ghost kitchens are popping up around the country and changing the way restaurants operate and customers dine. The shifting tide matches the growing trend of experiential retail and signals potential changes that could impact other industries.

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What does the rise of ghost kitchens tell us about the future of real estate?

The hospitality industry is facing disruption from a new consumer trend driving an uprise of ‘ghost kitchens’. The rapid growth of this new type of property provides some useful lessons about investing in real estate over the long term.

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Cloud kitchens are changing the way we eat

They are disrupting the food industry by empowering consumers.

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It's all gravy: Restaurateurs dial up focus on more premium cloud kitchens

Established F&B companies are expanding their repertoire with low-cost cloud kitchens, which are changing product and packaging.

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How successful ghost kitchens are built

Restaurant operators need to focus on location, menu development and consumer satisfaction KPIs when developing delivery-only concepts, writes Chris Adams of Oracle Food and Beverage.

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Food Rocket Going Beyond Speedy Grocery Through Ghost Kitchens and an Open Platform

The sudden proliferation of speedy grocery delivery startups like San Francisco’s Food Rocket has been one of the bigger food tech stories of 2021. But for Vitaly Alexandrov, Co-Founder, and CEO of Food Rocket, fast grocery delivery is just a step to a much larger play.

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Mercato’s Andrew Smith: Now is a “Golden Age” for Restaurants

The restaurant sector was one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, but the industry is rebounding rapidly, as consumers embrace going out again. Private equity firm Mercato Partners is jumping at the opportunity.

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Ghost kitchens are becoming a very real business

Ghost kitchens are becoming a more serious business. Pre-pandemic, they were expected to account for 10% to 15% of the $66 billion US restaurant industry. Now that number is supposed to climb to 21% by 2025.

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Podcast: KLC Virtual Restaurants: The Game Changer in the Middle East Cloud Kitchen Business.

In an exclusive conversation with F&B Talks, Mubarak Jaffar, CEO and Co-founder of KLC Virtual Restaurants, shared insights on processes, including working with a lean team and simple business model that made them one of the fastest-growing virtual restaurant groups in the GCC.

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Podcast: The Rise of the Ghost Kitchen

On this episode of Remote Space, host Doug Thomas chats with journalist Kristen Hawley about the rise of the Ghost Kitchen, an evolution in the restaurant business that began before the pandemic and has grown exponentially with the rise in meal delivery.

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Podcast: Shining A Light On Dark Kitchens: A Conversation with Prashant Srivastava and Sam Pogosov

In this episode, Steve Geskos and guests further elaborate on the dark kitchen topic, taking a deep dive into the world of dark kitchens.

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India: Swiggy Raises $1.25bn at $5.5bn Valuation

Swiggy's Series J fundraise was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and its long-term investor, Prosus. Existing investors including Accel Partners and Wellington Management also participated.

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India: A bleeding industry: Pandemic brings devastation, and a few opportunities, to the pop-up food experience

Pop-up experiences, entirely dependent on in-person events, now face uncertain times ahead.

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The rise of virtual food brands in India

As restaurants shuttered and Indians turned to food delivery apps, restaurant owners were forced to go back to the drawing board and reevaluate their approach.

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Rebel Foods Plans Overseas Expansion Via Partnerships

Rebel Foods, which operates 500 internet restaurants outside India, is planning to add 250-300 locations across Southeast Asia, West Asia and the UK.

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India: ZFW Hospitality enters Mumbai to scale 15 brands with 50 Dark Kitchens

New Delhi based ZFW Hospitality on Thursday announced its foray into the financial capital of the country where it plans to support over 15 brands with 50 dark kitchens and fulfilment centres.

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Indonesia: In Jakarta, DishServe's cloud kitchens operate as home businesses

An Indonesian start-up has embraced the ghost kitchen trend, but with a twist: it uses home kitchens instead of commercial spaces.

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UAE's dark kitchen revolution takes a bite from traditional restaurants

What does the rise of remote kitchen facilities mean for how our food is prepared?

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Australia: Virtual Burger Brand Is Getting Sued For Copying In-N-Out

The In&Out Aussie Burgers has been accused of purposely misleading customers on Uber Eats and Menulog, two popular food ordering platforms in Australia, into believing the virtual brand was affiliated with the American chain.

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