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  • Writer's pictureCulterra

BI Events - The Future of Ghost Kitchens

March 2022

Ghost kitchens are evolving rapidly, spurred by a now two-year-long pandemic that accelerated consumer thirst for food on demand.

In 2021, restaurants saw delivery orders soar to 5.2 billion, more than doubling from the 2.4 billion delivery orders booked in 2019, the market-research firm the NPD Group found.

Ghost-kitchen startups, such as Reef Technology, Kitchen United, and CloudKitchens, are taking advantage of the boom. These industry disrupters offer restaurants "ghost" or "dark" kitchen spaces to prepare food for delivery. The model allows chains to expand their delivery operations without investing millions in stand-alone restaurant sites.

Some ghost-kitchen startups, including Reef, act like franchisees and license menus from brands. Other models, such as Kitchen United and CloudKitchens, act more like landlords and lease 300-square-foot kitchen spaces to restaurant operators.

The promise of earning revenue with minimal upfront costs has triggered widespread adoption of ghost kitchens from chains, such as Wendy's and Wingstop, and virtual brands. These delivery-only menus are often backed by social-media influencers and chef celebrities, such as MrBeast Burger and Guy Fieri's Flavortown Kitchen.

About 4 in 10 restaurant operators believed that delivery from a virtual or ghost kitchen would become more common in 2022, the National Restaurant Association's latest "State of the Industry" report said.

Yet, consumers demand transparency when it comes to delivery. In the trade group's report, 74% of adults surveyed said it was important for their food to be delivered from a place with a physical location that was accessible to the public.

What does that mean for the ghost-kitchen movement, which remains in the Wild West phase?

In this webinar, we'll talk to some of the food-tech industry's most notable experts. Meredith Sandland is a coauthor of "Delivering the Digital Restaurant" and a former chief development officer at Taco Bell. Brita Rosenheim is a food-tech expert and partner at Culterra Capital, which invests in food and agriculture technologies. Corey Manicone is the senior vice president of strategy for Kitchen United and a cofounder of Zuul.

These insiders intend to provide valuable insights into the world of ghost kitchens and their effect on the $665 billion restaurant industry.


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