Market surveys indicate that half of enterprise brands will launch some form of ghost, host or cloud kitchen concept in 2021, and that the global cloud kitchen market size, estimated at $43.1B in 2019, is forecasted to reach $71.4B by 2027.
CloudKitchens, started by former Uber founder and CEO Travis Kalanick, received hundreds of millions of dollars in funding, and according to a recent Wall Street Journal report, it’s spent more than $130 million in the last two years on real estate for its kitchens. In addition, Ordermark, a software provider helping restaurants manage online orders and host virtual brands from their existing kitchens, recently received a $120 million investment.
The Ghost Kitchen Conference, hosted by OnTrend Concepts in Dallas, June 17-18, brought restaurant chains, ghost/host kitchen concepts, third-party delivery providers and technology solution providers together to share insights, and learn from one another about emerging trends shaping the restaurant industry.
Ghost Kitchen Conference attendee Niko Papademetriou, SVP of Business Development at Qu, and one of the Restaurant Technology Network’s (RTN) newest Vendor Advisory Council members, passed along the following quotes from the conference. (Thanks, Niko!)
- “It’s about proximity. The closer we are to our consumer, the better we can service them: better, faster, cheaper.” -Michael Beacham, President, REEF
- “You don’t owe them [DSPs] anything... no, you don’t, but they’re a business. I pay them their fees. Nobody likes the fees, but rather than focus on a point or two, let’s remember that they saved restaurants this last year.” -Geoff Alexander, President & CEO, Wow Bao
- “I can’t tell you how frustrating it was [as an operator] to work with Yelp or Groupon and they couldn’t tell me how useful their services were. Now we can tell the incremental volume [with Ordermark].” -Alex Canter, CEO, Ordermark
- “There are a million kitchens in the US that are underutilized!... Let’s generate real demand for them.” -Alex Canter, CEO, Ordermark
- “Computer vision is actually able to measure the temperature [of the steak] and the chef is watching the KDS, which is telling him which steak to flip, at what time, to achieve the perfect temp. for the guest.” -Massimo Noja De Marco, CEO & Co-Founder, Piestro
- “It doesn’t have to be sales. Sales is just one metric, it also matters what flows down to the bottom line.” -Rishi Nigam, CEO & Co-Founder, Franklin Junction
- “We’ve had restaurants ask if they can sell our Bao on their menu, in restaurants. At this point we don’t. For us, today, the brand is everything and we have to protect it. If we sell the Bao on other menus, it’ll dilute the brand. -Geoff Alexander, President & CEO, Wow Bao
- “I look at myself as a franchisee of other established brands, a master franchisee. We work with the brands and can be a market test bed for them to evaluate new markets.” -George Kottas, CEO & Founder, Ghost Kitchen Brands
Papademetriou recently announced that Franklin Junction, home to 500 host facilities and 20+ partner brands, has rolled out Qu’s cloud kitchen technology solution, KitchenUP, to help restaurants expand delivery footprints, speed up ordering, and tap omni-channel commerce capabilities.
No doubt ghost kitchen concepts are on the rise. We'll continue to look to the sky, and follow the trend all the way up to the top.
About the Author
Angela Diffly is Co-Founder of Restaurant Technology Network. RTN is a membership community solely dedicated to the restaurant technology industry.