Ghost kitchen

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A ghost kitchen is a professional food preparation and cooking facility set up for the preparation of delivery-only meals.[1][2]. A ghost kitchen contains the kitchen equipment and facilities needed for the preparation of restaurant meals but has no dining area for walk-in customers.[3] Restaurants that use ghost kitchens may have a different physical location for walk-in customers, or may be a delivery-only ghost restaurant.[4] A ghost kitchen differs from a ghost restaurant in that a ghost kitchen is not necessarily a restaurant brand in itself and it can contain kitchen space and facilities for more than one restaurant brand.[5]


A ghost kitchen may also be known as a delivery kitchen, virtual kitchen, commissary kitchen, dark kitchen, or cloud kitchen.


Ghost kitchens have emerged as a business model in response to the rapid growth in consumer demand for restaurant delivery meals,.[3] and the lower costs incurred by using kitchen facilities located outside of high-rent, high-foot-trafficked urban locations.[6] In addition to equipped kitchen space, ghost kitchen operators can offer point of sale and ordering software that accommodates various delivery platforms (GrubHub, UberEats, DoorDash, e.g.) and dedicated parking areas for delivery drivers.[5] Using a ghost kitchen allows established restaurants with dining-in service to expand their delivery operations without adding stress to the existing kitchen, frees up parking taken by the delivery vehicles, and allows them to enter new neighborhoods at lower cost.[7]


  • CloudCooks is an on-demand technology company started by Chris Signore on September 11, 2017. CloudCooks designs, builds and leases delivery kitchens to local chefs, who create their own menus that can be delivered to local patrons. CloudCooks' model invests heavily into turning underdeveloped or undesired real-estate into professional kitchens; by bringing together talented operators, chefs, food producers, and patrons. Their first delivery kitchen was GhostKITCHEN, a 24/7 delivery-only restaurant located in Ottawa, Ontario that began as a way to have high-quality food delivered, without needing an expensive real-estate location, or the traditional front-of-house dining room experiences found in typical brick and mortar restaurants.
  • CloudKitchens - Through his investment fund, 10100, former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick acquired majority control of City Storage Systems, a real estate investment company with an interest in redeveloping urban spaces for new uses, including ghost kitchens,[8] operating under the name of CloudKitchens.[9] The company describes itself as offering "smart kitchens for delivery-only restaurants." Kalanick invested $300 million into the venture. The other major investor is Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund which invested $400 million.[10]
  • Deliveroo Editions, the ghost kitchen arm of the London-based food-delivery app, Deliveroo, announced plans in 2017 to set up 30 kitchens in London and Brighton.[11] In May 2018, Deliveroo announced a £5 million innovation fund to explore new ventures, including developing new restaurant concepts to be operated out of Editions kitchens. The restaurant concepts and their locations will be determined through analysis of Deliveroo's meal delivery data.[12] As part of its expansion into ghost kitchens, Deliveroo Editions has equipped mobile, shipping container-sized kitchens it locates in British cities that lack variety in food delivery choices.[13]
  • U.K.-based Karma Kitchen [14]
  • Keatz - The German company Keatz began setting up ghost kitchens in Berlin and has expanded to 10 sites in Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona and Munich. It has attracted funding from US and European investors totaling €19 million, including €7 million in March 2019 by RTP Global.[15]
  • Kitchen United - Google Ventures has invested $10 million in the Pasadena-based company.[16] In addition to providing services for restaurants wishing to expand their delivery operations, they rent space by the hour to chef-entrepreneurs wishing to experiment with new concepts.[5] The company has ghost kitchens in eight US cities, including Pasadena, Scottsdale, Atlanta, Chicago and Columbus, OH with plans to have 15 kitchen centers opened by 2020.[17]
  • Kitopi - The Dubai-based company launched in January 2018 has raised $89 million in funding from venture capital investors including from the corporate venture arm of Crescent Enterprises[18] and has now cloud kitchens in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, US and UK.[19] [20]
  • Mumbai-based Rebel Foods, which began as a restaurant food delivery company, has expanded into cloud kitchens.[21] In September 2019 the company announced a new round of investment from Goldman Sachs and other partners totaling $2 billion rupees ($28 million). Earlier funders include Sequoia Capital, LightboxVC and Sistema Asia Fund.[22] The company claims over 200 cloud kitchen locations in India.
  • Reef Kitchens REEF KITCHENS allow for on-site food preparation and our centralized locations serve as an optimal base for food delivery services, so your customers get their meals exactly as you intend them to-fast and fresh. More consumers are utilizing food delivery services every day, and while this means more opportunities for restaurants, it also means more challenges and complexity to be managed. Backed by investment giant Softbank, REEF aims to become one of the leaders in the trendy ghost kitchens industry
  • Swiggy Access, the cloud kitchen arm of Swiggy India's largest food delivery startups, has established 1,000 cloud kitchens across 14 cities in the country for its restaurant partners.[23]
  • UberEats, ride service Uber's food delivery service and app opened its first ghost kitchen in Paris in 2019[24] and has since added more, though none in the US.
  • Zuul Kitchens, which opened a location in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood in 2019 with nine separate kitchen units.[25][26]

A variation on the ghost kitchen set-up is the partnership announced by Starbucks and Hema, the Chinese supermarket chain owned by Alibaba.[27] Under the agreement announced in 2018, Starbucks will convert sections of Hema grocery stores' kitchen facilities into virtual Starbucks kitchens, dedicated to selling coffee and baked goods which will be delivered by Alibaba’s food-delivery unit,[28] A similar arrangement was announced in September 2019 bringing together the food and lifestyle magazine, Bon Appetit, the Chicago-based restaurant group Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE) and Grubhub, in which Bon Appetit uses LEYE kitchen space and kitchen staff to create Bon Appetit recipes for delivery by Grubhub.[29]


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  2. ^ Garlick, Hattie. "Dark kitchens: is this the future of takeaway?". Financial Times. Retrieved 2019-04-17.
  3. ^ a b Madhumita, Murgia (5 April 2017). "Deliveroo expands with standalone takeaway kitchens". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  4. ^ Bromwich, Jonah Engel (2019-12-24). "Farm to Table? More Like Ghost Kitchen to Sofa". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-12-27.
  5. ^ a b c Albrecht, Chris (August 17, 2018). "A Quick Tour of Kitchen United's Virtual Kitchen Operation". The Spoon. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
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  9. ^ Bradshaw, Tim; Bond, Shannon (14 February 2019). "Travis Kalanick secretly ramps up kitchen venture after Uber exit". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  10. ^ Jones, Rory; Winkler, Rolf. "Saudis Get Behind An Uber Founder's Startup". THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. p. B1. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
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  12. ^ Coghlan, Adam (May 22, 2018). "Delivery Giant Deliveroo Finds £5 Million to Enlist Celebrity Chefs". Vox Media. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  13. ^ Satariano, Adam (22 January 2018). "An App That Comes With A Kitchen" (4555). Bloomberg LLC. pp. 23–25.
  14. ^ Bradshaw, Tim (May 20, 2019). "The start-ups building 'dark kitchens' for Uber Eats and Deliveroo". Financial Times PLC. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  15. ^ O'Hear, Steve (March 22, 2019). "Keatz, a European 'cloud kitchen' startup, raises further €12M". Tech Crunch. Verizon Media. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  16. ^ Sawers, Paul (October 8, 2018). "GV leads $10 million investment in Kitchen United to help restaurants expand via data-driven kitchens". Venture Beat. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  17. ^ "Kitchen United Plans New Location in Tempe". Closeupmedia. June 30, 2019. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
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  20. ^ Bradshaw, Tim (May 21, 2019). "The start-ups building 'dark kitchens' for Uber Eats and Deliveroo". Financial Times. Financial Times. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  21. ^ Moritz, Michael (May 21, 2019). "The cloud kitchen brews a storm for local restaurants". The Financial Times Ltd. Financial Times. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  22. ^ "Goldman Sachs and others investing Rs 200 Cr in Rebel Foods Series D round". Bareback Media PL. September 20, 2019. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  23. ^ Singh, Manish (10 November 2019). "India's Swiggy bets big on cloud kitchens". Techcrunch. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  24. ^ Bradshaw, Tim (20 May 2019). "The start-ups building 'dark kitchens' for Uber Eats and Deliveroo". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  25. ^ Adams, Erika (August 26, 2019). "High-Profile NYC Restaurants Are Moving Into Soho's New 'Ghost Kitchen' for Delivery Only". Eater-New York. Vox Media. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  26. ^ GOURARIE, CHAVA (December 10, 2019). "Ghost Kitchens Are Reshaping the Restaurant Industry. Is That a Good Thing?". Commercial Observer. Observer Media. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  27. ^ Xiao, Xiao; Lin, Liza (July 30, 2018). "Starbucks Ties Up With Alibaba to Deliver Coffee in China". The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  28. ^ Gurdus, Lizzy (August 2, 2018). "Starbucks CEO confirms Alibaba partnership, plans to expand delivery to 2,000 stores in China". Retrieved 25 September 2019.
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