How 'ghost kitchens' are changing the restaurant industry

Posted at 4:49 PM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2021-02-01 16:02:51-05

To-go orders and delivery are now the new normal for restaurants across the country and South Florida. Restaurant owners are figuring out how to operate in a cost-effective way and a not-so-new but trending concept may be a good option to help with those costs.

“We had to furlough people. It was heartbreaking, we lost a lot of money and a lot of business but we’re blessed and lucky to have the business that we do have during these difficult times,” said Scott Linquist, chef and partner at Coyo Taco.

Scott Linquist, chef and partner of Coyo Taco, is one of the thousands of restaurant business owners adjusting to the new normal. With take-out and delivery being the primary source of sales for restaurants right now, Scott is looking into what may be a new business model for his company.

“The ghost kitchen model is really good, especially for test markets. If you want to get into a test market where you don’t have a brick-and-mortar and you don’t want to go in and spend a ton of money to set it up. You can test the market,” added Scott.

“So many local restaurants have been devastated by this. Fortunately we’re there to lend a hand and help bring them to life,” said Carl Segal, COO REEF.

Located in neighborhood parking lots and garages, REEF partners with local restaurants to prepare their exact foods. So when you order from a third-party delivery service like UberEats, Postmates, or Grubhub , you’re probably getting the food that’s made in one of REEF's kitchens.

“We partner with the restaurant operator to bring their brand to life at REEF. They’re our employees. We hire people locally from the community. Sometimes we’ll even hire the kitchen staff from the restaurants we’re working with to help bring it to life,” added Carl.

Krispy Rice is a SBE’s delivery only restaurant concept, they opened in Miami in April. For them, using the ghost kitchen concept expedites process and removes dine-in expenses.

“We believe that this is a big piece of the future of dining. We really think that these consumer trends are here to stay and this period of time has only accelerated that adoption ,” said Brad Reynolds, Chief Operating Officer of C3 (Creating Culinary Communities).

So whether you’re cutting costs or planning to expand to a different market, ghost kitchens may be the economically safe way to go.

“Our initial model is to work with them in the local markets where we don’t have representation, places where we can actually drive and test and see what’s going on. Once that’s a success, we go from there,” said Scott.

Carl says they’ve been doing more partnerships with local chefs, including Michelle Bernstein and Michael Shwartz, to help with their concepts.

If you’re a restaurant owner interested in learning more, click here.