Cloud kitchens — also known as ghost kitchens, virtual kitchens, or shared / commissary kitchens — are defining the future of the restaurant industry. They allow restaurants with delivery-only options to still function, regardless of the fact they still have a brick and mortar. In other words, a life safer during COVID times.
Thanks to many advancements in technology, it’s become easier than ever to open a “virtual restaurant. But where do you start? These eight companies are leading the charge in the cloud kitchen game, managing everything from kitchen scouting to establishing a strong delivery model.
After a former chief executive of Uber Technologies Inc. quietly assembled a mini-empire of closed restaurants and warehouses, CloudKitchens—a ghost kitchen startup that rents out space to businesses that prepare food for delivery—has acquired more than 40 properties in almost two dozen cities.
Creating the concept of the "Host Kitchen", Franklin Junction inked a deal with GrubHub this summer. The digital platform helps restaurants monetize excess kitchen and storage capacity by facilitating the production and online sales of additional menu items
Based in Pasadena, California, Kitchen United is a ghost kitchen company that provides equipped professional kitchen space for restaurants to prep and operate delivery-only menu items. Aside from the space itself, they also scrap complicated POS systems and instead provide back of house automation and miscellaneous ordering software to streamline delivery services.
Founded in 2019, Nextrbite makes it its mission to simplify the process for restaurant operators by offering their own "pre-made" virtual restaurant brands that they can implement quickly. This means little to no financial start-up, other than food costs.
Formerly known as ParkJockey Global, the Miami-based parking facilities technology company has 5,000 locations across North America. Now they're using those same facilities to enter into the world of the virtual restaurant; the now-formed Reef Kitchens division has outfitted its parking facilities with delivery-based cloud kitchens.
Launched by restaurant and tech industry veterans, Virturant is a delivery-only virtual restaurant brands company boosting revenue in restaurants by monetizing their unused/underused staff, equipment and kitchen capacity. It features a turn-key process that attracts new customers through food delivery apps (UberEats, DoorDash, etc.)
Based in NYC, Zuul allows restaurateurs and chefs to focus on cooking and growing their business, while they take care of the operations, technology and space. The start-up has recently joined forces with media company Thrillist to launch a rotating ghost kitchen as well as virtual food hall "Zuul Market."
[Photo: Ella Olsen via Pexels]