Riding the Ghost Kitchen "Wave"

A version of this article appeared on 11/17/20 in Eat.news, a free weekly newsletter from Back of House with news, resources, and more curated by our team. It goes out to thousands of restaurant operators each Tuesday morning. Subscribe today to get our coverage of the restaurant technology space directly to your inbox!


The Industry Appetizer

A quick snack on some headlines that caught our editors' eyes this week.

  • Study links restaurants to surging coronavirus cases: According to a Stanford University study, for which 98 million phone users' data was analyzed to track the risks of infection at different locations, restaurants—along with gyms and hotels—post the greatest risk for "super-spreading" COVID-19. (Bloomberg / Nature)

  • New Yorkers plead to halt indoor dining: Meanwhile, New York is already trying to get ahead of a potential second wave—or third wave, depending on how you read the charts—by making a plea to Governor Cuomo to put a hard stop on indoor dining. Stay tuned on that. Chicago reentered lockdown on Monday, and more states shuttered indoor dining over the weekend. (New York Times / Restaurant Hospitality)

  • Food industry groups request vaccine prioritization: Within days of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announcing success with coronavirus vaccines in clinical trials, 15 trade groups in the food service and agricultural industries sent letters to both President Donald Trump and President-Elect Joe Biden requesting food processing and agriculture workers be first in line for a vaccine. We shall see. (Food Dive)

Tech Talk

The restaurant software, hardware, and solutions stories we've been chewing on lately.

  • Delivery, Lyfted: In an attempt to combat a nearly 50% drop in revenue Lyft is looking to rev up its delivery business. Co-founder John Zimmer's strategy? Ask the businesses that use 3PD services what their biggest pain points are (cough cough high commission fees cough) and try to build a model that helps them fulfill orders without forfeiting their relationship with the consumer. What a novel idea! (Restaurant Dive)

  • Riding the ghost kitchen "wave": From alleviating start-up capital to growing a "digital brand", ghost kitchens are becoming an attractive option for investors... especially after a market research firm recently estimated that delivery-only restaurants could be a $1 trillion business by 2030. But is this good for the restaurant industry's present-day players, and specifically for small operators? Well... that's a different question entirely. (Eater)

  • DoorDash goes public: On the delivery tip, DoorDash is helping independent brick and mortar restaurants that closed due to COVID create a digital footprint by creating delivery-only options in available spaces. Almost acting as a digital/virtual "broker," if you will. Incidentally, the 3PD heavy just last week filed for its IPO, a long-expected move that gives more visibility into its operations and the delivery landscape generally. More to come. (Expedite / Restaurant Dive)

Back of House Banter

>>>Read our interview with Casey Vermette, the director of sales at Wisetail, a BOH Verified Vendor.

Pantry Staples

Resources for restaurant operators, created and curated by our team.

  • Bracing for the brrr: Operators across the country are coming up with creative ways to fortify their outdoor dining offerings against the impending winter weather. Here are five popular ways to extend outdoor seating into colder months. (Back of House)

  • Takeout tips: Or, if you think your customers are going to opt for the warm and cozy comfort of their couches this winter, check out these creative takeout ideas to help boost revenue. (Back of House)

  • Updated COVID closures: Even since last week, a bunch of states have moved to close and restrict dining options in response to skyrocketing case counts. Check out the latest state-by-state updates here. (Back of House)

[Photo: Nataliya Vaitkevich via Pexels]