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Virtual Restaurants with No Seats (Ghost Kitchens) Serve the Home Delivery Market, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

The wide array of meal-ordering and delivery services are fueling a new concept in restaurants:  those with no seats for customers.  In fact, customers aren’t allowed in.  These kitchen-only establishments, sometimes referred to as ghost kitchens, do not have the overhead that comes with seating areas, waitstaff, signage, high-traffic real estate and related costs.  Instead, the kitchen cooks orders taken by app and needs only a central pickup counter or window where interactions with delivery service runners take place.  
Delivery service Grubhub invested in Green Summit Group, a startup in Chicago, Illinois, to build a central kitchen which produces dishes for nine different “virtual restaurants.”  Each appears as a separate establishment with unique menus but is prepared in the same kitchen by the same staff.  Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has launched a well-funded firm called CloudKitchens that buys relatively inexpensive commercial real estate and converts it into locations where entrepreneurs can rent delivery-only kitchen space.  His firm has also launched its own delivery-only restaurant brands, such as Excuse My French Toast.  
CloudKitchens’ investments are global, ranging from China and India to the U.S. and UK.  Walmart’s Canada division is partnering with Ghost Kitchen Brands to offer online ordering and delivery.  Creating Culinary Communities (C3) is a major global food tech platform focused on digital kitchens.  C3 investors include Simon Property Group and Accor S.A.
Wonder (, a startup firm which offers food takeout and delivery from multiple restaurant “brands” cooked in a single kitchen, raised $700 million in early 2024 to fund up to 100 delivery-focused kitchen locations in the New York City area.  Wonder also owns at-home meal kit company Blue Apron, which it acquired in 2023 for $103 million.  

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