Ghost Kitchens

With the pandemic, I think ghost kitchens have become popular operating model than before.

What are Ghost kitchens (link 2, link 3, link 4)? They are basically health inspected approved industrial or restaurant kitchens that serve food from a variety of different cuisines. They can operate independently as a “Delivery/Pick Up” model and in some cases, can also operate out of a well known restaurant. In the latter case, the only way a person would know there’s a ghost kitchen is by the address when you go pick up the food. If you’re an existing restauranteur, a possible benefit in operating a ghost kitchen from your restaurant would be to serve a different cuisine than the restaurant…. say the restaurnt focuses on Italian cuisine, the ghost kithcen could be serving up a specific niche comfort food like Mac n Cheese and Grilled Cheese.

This idea has me thinking… For any ghost kitchen to be profitable, the kitchen would need to cater to a wide variety of tastes while obviously minimizing the food cost. So what is the minimum number of “different tastes” a ghost kitchen would need to maintain? If you look at some ghost kitchens (Colony, Kitchen United), the menus are extensive and cover quite a lot of cuisines.

The kitchen would need to cater to Asian, Middle Eastern, American, European, Latin, other tasts. Even within the Asian category, there’s distinction between Indian, Malaysian, Chinese and Japanese foods. Even Latin American cuisines, there’s distinctions between the Mexican, Guatemalan, Peruvian and even Brazilian foods. For European, the variation between the northern and southern countries are pretty astounding. Looking at German food and Italian food, the cuisine from each country is different. And even if we just talk about one cuisine… like American, there’s no such thing as “American food.” Americans eat a wide variety of food ranging from BBQ meats to pizza to fried foods like fried chicken. They are all uniquely different food. This is applicable across Indian cuisine, Chinese cuisine, etc…. there are different foods made from different parts of the country but are still part of the cuisine. Can you see the problem already? A ghost kitchen wouldn’t be able to cover all these distinct cuisines let alone the distintive dishes for each cuisine.

But, assuming it’s possible, a ghost kitchen will have to sacrifice less popular cuisines in favor of more popular ones. The kitchen will need to be able to make pizza, burgers and fried dishes (fried chicken especially). The kitchen will also need to make asian rice and noodle dishes and optionally be able to make popular asian entrees like indian curry, thai curry, broccoli beef or soy ginger chicken. The kitchen should also be able to make burritos, nachos and tacos. For more traditionalist dishes, italian pasta with various sauces Finally, middle eastern dishes like gyros, shawarmas and kebabs to round out the kitchen. If each listed food has at minimum 3-5 variations, the ghost kitchen has to be able to manage at least 20-30 different types of cooking styles.

But… I think these ghost kitchens will start a greater food revolution and food evolution. The close proximity of the various cuisines could lead to Indian Curry Poutine!? Broccoli Beef burrito?! Gyro pizza?!

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