June 16, 2022

Matt Cook, Publisher

First of all, thank you to everyone who participated in the 2nd Annual Ghost Kitchen & Virtual Restaurant Conference!  It was a huge success, as you will see below from all the LinkedIn posts about the event.

This is also a big week for ghost kitchen news.  Tons of great articles.  Carve out some time to focus just on this week’s digest.  There is a LOT to learn.

And now, the news…

Issue #97

Observations from the Ghost Kitchen Conference

James Shea from Food Delivery News gives a quick summary of the main takeaways from the 2nd Annual Ghost Kitchen & Virtual Restaurant Conference.


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LinkedIn Posts Related to the Ghost Kitchen Conference

There were so many posts on LinkedIn related to the conference that we woulc not include them in this Ghost Kitchen Digest. We posted a sampling of them online for you to review.


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Trusted Virtual Brands Boost All-Hours Spending for Restaurants

The virtual brand model has taken over the industry, with restaurants adding new, delivery-only concepts to their kitchens to drive revenue on digital ordering channels.


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Grubhub: Virtual Brands Are ‘More Popular’ with Independent Operators

“Virtual restaurant concepts are more popular among restaurant operators than ever before,” Marnie Boyer, vice president of diner acquisition at Grubhub “More restaurants have tapped into the concept because it gives operators the opportunity to test additional, delivery-only menu concepts with little financial risk. These concepts create new revenue streams, attract untapped customers and increase restaurant exposure, all with little overhead.”


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GrubHub has Targeted Their Entry into the Hospitality World

In a new move aimed at branching into the hospitality industry, Grubhub has partnered with Resorts World in Las Vegas. As a mega-hotel, with over 3,500 rooms, Grubhub has worked to “customize and tailor our product to fit their needs” throughout the property.


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Yelp Data Reveals How the Labor Shortage and Inflation are Impacting the Restaurant Industry as People Flock Back to On-Premise Dining

Even as on-premise dining picks up, takeout demand remains high. Yelp data also reveals that experience-focused dining is seeing a pop in new business openings as people look to find more unique dining options when they do go out.


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Pitch Deck Teardown: Lunchbox’s $50 million Series B deck

Lunchbox spotted an opportunity, raising $20 million in 2020 and then $50 million back in February. This post takes a look at the deck the company used to raise its $50 million round and bring on board an impressive cadre of investors.


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Marc Lore's food truck startup Wonder raises $350 million

Wonder, a "cloud kitchen on wheels" company led by Marc Lore, raised $350 million led by Bain Capital Ventures at around a $3.5 billion valuation. "Wonder aims to build a network of truck-based restaurants that can cook hot curbside meals drawn from chef-driven menus. That model also allows Wonder to deliver food to homes."


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Saladworks and Combo Kitchen partner to open 20 new ghost kitchens

Saladworks, the leading US fast-casual create-your-own salad franchise and part of the WOWorks family of brands, is opening 20 new ghost kitchen locations through a new partnership with Combo Kitchen, the world's leading and largest ghost kitchen franchise.


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Dallas taco shop owners to launch ghost kitchen inside Walmart in Plano

Customers can order food from Quiznos, Cheesecake Factory or other brands — all on one tab.


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Panera Opens the First of Its Restaurants for Digital-Only Pick Up and Delivery

Panera To Go is a digital-only restaurant with a reduced front of house where customers and delivery drivers can easily pick up orders from dedicated pick up and delivery shelves.


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Wingstop CEO: We Have Not Seen a Pullback on Food Delivery

Skipworth discusses how bone-in wing prices have declined and other topics.


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Tyler Florence says the food truck business is great to get into and can be very prosperous

Tyler Florence shared where he thinks the food truck business is heading and how it can be very successful . He also shared his thoughts on ghost kitchens and the many ways restaurants are trying to get creative with delivery.


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Tastemakers Podcast: Alex Canter from Nextbite

After multiple successful restaurant tech ventures, Alex started Nextbite to help restaurants fill unused capacity with virtual dining concepts. Those include Packed Bowls by Wiz Khalifa and George Lopez Tacos. In 2020, they closed their 120 million dollar series c round of funding.


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On-demand delivery app Waitr adds 700 7-Eleven stores

Platform wants to move away from restaurant delivery


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7 Key Metrics that QSRs want (but may not get) from Food Delivery Apps

Blog post discusses the relationship between QSRs and food aggregators and how getting data about key metrics from these food delivery platforms can help QSRs scale their revenue.


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Tech Tracker: Store prototypes keep getting more high-tech; Kraft to launch restaurant in the metaverse

Panera announces a digital pickup-only store, while Taco Bell announces the ‘Defy’ prototype with four drive-thru lanes and QR code ordering


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How Digital is Transforming the Restaurant Dining Experience

For the past two years, restaurants struggled to regain their footing amidst a digital revolution focused on off-premise dining. Now, the industry is pushing past these growing pains and into new territory: using digital not only to survive, but to thrive in the age of personalized customer journeys.


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Tech Tracker: Restaurant delivery companies face the music

Third-party delivery companies have been sued by consumers — but what does it mean?


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Still Struggling with a Labor Shortage? Here are Some Solutions

Restaurants are looking well beyond higher pay these days to recruit and retain workers (including a recommendation to set up a ghost kitchen!).


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Ghost kitchens: The evolution of food safety in nontraditional foodservice

Familiarity with the concept of ghost kitchens is growing and if brands want to ensure these remain good experiences, they need to put the same amount of effort into those brands as they do ones with FOH.


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Opinion: Our Cities Are Going Dark

Editorial criticizes the impact of dark stores and ghost kitchens on city life. I think he is incorrect, but the essay was worth including in the Digest.


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New Illinois law regulates food delivery apps

The Fair Food and Retail Delivery Act prohibits third-party delivery companies from posting a menu, registered trademark, or any intellectual property on their website without the restaurant's consent.


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Canada: Coho Collective Kitchens Completes Initial Public Offering

Coho is a growth stage, community-driven, commercial real estate and food technology company that provides private and shared kitchen and production space to food companies from start-ups to restaurant groups seeking turnkey solutions and business services.


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UK: Peckwater delivered £15m for virtual restaurant brand service

London-based Peckwater Brands helps develop the virtual brand of restaurant chains operating a delivery-only service without the need for a physical location.


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UAE: Deliveroo launches fifth F&B platform featuring 10 super kitchens in Dubai

The food delivery company was one of the first players to open a cloud kitchen concept which caters to multiple restaurants


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India: JustKitchen enters India via Virtual Kitchen Services agreement with Kitchens Centre

Effective April 16, 2022, the agreement makes JustKitchen's portfolio of food brands available for delivery in the large, new Indian market, which is planned to be authorized and deployed in multiple tranches.


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India: Tiger Global-backed EatClub Brands’ Revenue Shrinks 30% in FY21

EatClub competes directly with Rebel Foods, FreshMenu, Ankit Nagori-led Curefoods, and several independent cloud kitchen operators. Most foodtech companies in India have seen a drop in operating revenues in the 20-30% range.


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India: A licence to feed: Home chefs, cloud kitchens & kiosks are under the lens for being legit and following norms of food industry

While home chef and cloud kitchen models are very legit, even to list on food aggregators, one needs to provide a licence.


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Singapore: Ross Digital secures $3 million to expand operations

Ross Digital, a Singaporean firm using robotics and automation for food and beverage has secured $3 million in its Series A funding round to support its expansion plans.


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Malaysia: JustKitchen Opening Two Ghost Kitchen Locations in Malaysia

The Company will utilize GrabFood, Foodpanda, and Shopee Food as delivery service partners for the new locations.


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Spain: Remy Robotics Exits Stealth Mode With Launch of Third Autonomous Robotic Kitchen

Remy Robotics, a food technology startup leading the disruption of delivery-only restaurants through the use of adaptive robotics and culinary engineering, exited stealth mode with the opening of a third autonomous robotic kitchen.


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