Until recently, I had not heard about the idea of Ghost Kitchens—also known as Cloud Kitchens and Virtual Kitchens. Maybe I’ve been focusing so much on the pandemic and trying to hide into the virtual world of my novel writing that I didn’t notice this new phenomenon in food delivery. My wife and I have been preparing simple meals at home.
A Ghost Kitchen is a facility that contains all the physical food prep aspects of a restaurant—the usual kitchen equipment and facilities needed for food preparation and the required kitchen staff—but has no designated customer space. That is, there’s no dining-in area (not even an outdoor patio area) and no space devoted to customer walk-in traffic. These food service entities are totally a closed door, delivery-only concept.
During this pandemic, many restaurants adopted a food delivery service concept as an alternative to dining in, along with curbside food pick up services, but this is even different from that model.
Although Ghost Kitchens may include part of the new business model for some existing restaurants not able to have customers dine in at present, this is a concept once removed from a restaurant preparing a meal and then calling an independent delivery service to deliver that meal to a customer.
Ghost Kitchens are cropping up all over the world and the business model is all about efficiency.
The physical kitchen equipment and staff are in place, but the physical space doesn’t need to be anywhere near high rent or high foot traffic locations. These businesses might even be located in refurbished warehouse buildings in more industrial areas of a city. All that’s needed is a point of sale website, and ordering software that accommodates a variety of delivery platforms—like GrubHub, UberEats, DoorDash, etc.
Some of the articles I’ve read about these new food service operations indicate that the business model may be here to stay, much like the concept of working from home for many may not go away after this pandemic is in our rearview mirrors.
Certainly, the convenience of such a food service is arguably great; and, with a high quality meal just a phone call away or with a few clicks on a keyboard, an online order can be in process. I think this food service concept is yet another habit that humans will adapt to as future common practice that results from isolating during this pandemic.
As a writer, it’ll be interesting to see how many of my author friends include these new concepts of everyday living into future plots.
Thoughts? Comments? I’d like to hear them!
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