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What In the World Is a Ghost Kitchen?

what is a ghost kitchen

One of the newest trends in the food world is something called a "ghost kitchen." While this may seem like a spooky attraction you'd only find during Halloween, it's really much simpler than that. If you're looking for the down-low on what a ghost kitchen is, look no further.

Basic Definition

To put it simply, a ghost kitchen is a restaurant without a storefront. They don't have a dining room, wait staff, or even a hard copy menu in many cases. While it may seem strange not to have a physical location, these kitchens operate solely off of delivery services, such as Grub Hub or Door Dash. This may seem like it would be detrimental for small businesses, but it has actually turned out to be the opposite. For companies such as Reef Kitchen, the rising popularity of ghost kitchens allows more small businesses to gain popularity without the overhead cost of owning a building. In some instances, multiple small businesses can share the same kitchen while each sending out orders in their unique style, thanks to the concept of a ghost kitchen.

Origins

While it's not specifically known where the notion of a ghost kitchen began, the Covid-19 pandemic rapidly expanded the popularity of these restaurants. With the world going into quarantine, many brick-and-mortar restaurants were forced to close their dining rooms and move to carry-out or delivery if they wanted to continue making a profit. As fewer in-person dining rooms were available, more and more ghost kitchens popped up.  Because the pandemic continues to restrict dining services, virtual kitchens are becoming more popular among smaller food businesses. Thanks to food delivery services, dishes from thousands of chefs are becoming available to the public without the crowding of an in-person restaurant.

Moving Forward

As delivery services become more prevalent in society, more ghost kitchens will likely pop up in cities all over the country. Many of these communal kitchens tend to rent spaces in industrial parks that are unsuitable for in-person restaurants, allowing them to keep costs down. During the warmer months, ghost kitchens in the form of food trucks or roadside stands will make their appearance to take over farmer's markets and local festivals. While these local spots may not have a concrete location, it's not uncommon to find locals lining up to get a taste of the dishes they're serving. In the next few years, there's no reason to believe that ghost kitchens will phase out of existence. People have only now gotten a taste of the convenience of food delivery, and businesses are beginning to see the financial benefits of operating on a basis of delivery-only.

In conclusion, the notion of a ghost kitchen isn't as complicated and spooky as it sounds. Thanks to the increasing popularity of virtual dining and delivery services, these kitchens can be expected to last for years to come. If you have a local spot that doesn't seem to have an in-person location, chances are it's a ghost kitchen operating solely by delivery!

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