Ghost Kitchens: The Future of Restaurants or Just a Fad?

Written by Brittany Paguni, Account Specialist

What's a Ghost Kitchen?

The concept of a ghost kitchen, also known as a virtual or cloud kitchen, is a relatively new one in the restaurant industry. These delivery-only restaurants operate out of what are known as "dark kitchens," or kitchen spaces that are not open to the public. Ghost kitchens can be standalone entities, or they can be a part of an existing restaurant that is looking to expand its delivery offerings.

How Are They Changing The Industry?

The rise of ghost kitchens can largely be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to a significant shift toward delivery and takeout. With dining rooms closed or operating at reduced capacity, many restaurants have had to pivot to online orders in order to stay afloat. Ghost kitchens have provided a solution for these restaurants, allowing them to continue operating while maintaining social distancing guidelines.

But ghost kitchens are not just a temporary solution for restaurants struggling during the pandemic. Even as dining rooms begin to reopen, it's likely that ghost kitchens will continue to play a role in the restaurant industry. The convenience of delivery is something that many consumers have come to expect and appreciate, and ghost kitchens allow restaurants to meet this demand without the need for a traditional dining room.

One of the main advantages of ghost kitchens is that they allow restaurant brands to reach a wider audience without the overhead of a traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant. With a ghost kitchen, there is no need to invest in a dining room, front-of-house staff, or parking lot. All the energy and resources can be focused on the kitchen space and menu development, which can lead to more efficient and cost-effective operations.

Ghost kitchens have also changed the way restaurants are thinking about real estate. Rather than being tied to a specific location, a ghost kitchen can operate out of any kitchen space, including a shared kitchen facility. This allows restaurant owners to be more flexible and responsive to changes in consumer demand.

So, are ghost kitchens the future of the restaurant industry? It's hard to say for certain, but it's clear that they are here to stay in some capacity. As more and more people turn to delivery apps to order their meals, we can expect to see an increase in the number of virtual restaurants operating out of dark kitchens.This could potentially lead to a shift away from traditional restaurants, at least in some markets.

But it's important to note that ghost kitchens are not a replacement for traditional restaurants. They are simply a different way of operating and reaching customers. Restaurant owners who are considering a ghost kitchen model will still need to focus on menu development, branding, and customer service in order to succeed.

One potential downside of ghost kitchens is the impact they could have on delivery drivers. With more restaurant brands operating out of dark kitchens, there could be more competition for delivery jobs, which could lead to lower wages and less job security for drivers. This is something that will need to be carefully considered as the ghost kitchen trend continues to grow.

There are also concerns about the sustainability of ghost kitchens. Without a physical dining space, it's harder for customers to recycle or compost their waste, which could lead to more single-use packaging and waste. Ghost kitchens will need to find ways to minimize their environmental impact to be a viable long-term solution.


In conclusion, ghost kitchens are a relatively new concept in the restaurant industry that has gained popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way for restaurants to pivot to delivery and takeout. These delivery-only restaurants operate out of "dark kitchens" or kitchen spaces that are not open to the public and can be standalone entities or a part of an existing restaurant. Ghost kitchens offer the advantage of reaching a wider audience without the overhead of a traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant and can be a more efficient and cost-effective way of operating. However, there are also potential downsides to consider, including the impact on delivery drivers and the sustainability of the model. It remains to be seen how ghost kitchens will continue to evolve and play a role in the restaurant industry in the long term.

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About Geordy Murphy

From concept developer and restaurant general manager, to corporate chef and marketing director, Murphy has been the lead executive in a number of the country’s most prominent restaurants and bars.Connect with Geordy on

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