Restaurants adapt to increase in use of food delivery apps with ‘ghost kitchens’

Business News

NEW YORK (CBS) — If you don’t feel like going out to eat there are now plenty of delivery apps that make it easier than ever to have food brought to your door.

And growth in this business is changing the way restaurants operate.

The restaurant chain B. GOOD offers a healthy menu including chicken, salads, and wraps. But there’s something missing at this Chicago location: No seats or customers.

All the dishes made at the restaurant are for delivery only. It’s what’s known as a ghost kitchen.

William Burns is general manager of B. GOOD’s Chicago ghost kitchen.

He says, “As real estate prices go up in downtown Chicago, there’s restaurants that are looking to have their footprint here in the city that just can’t afford to do your traditional brick and mortar.”

Ghost kitchens have become popular with the explosion of traffic on food delivery apps like Grubhub and UberEats. Established restaurants are also getting in on the act. Frato’s in Illinois is known for its pizza, but the company is also making sandwiches in the kitchen and delivering them under the name Cheesy Deliciousness.

Michael Kudrna is owner of Frato’s. He says: “You have to try to see what trends are coming and try to get ahead of the game on that as much as possible.”

It’s a similar story at Top Round in San Francisco. Customers come to the restaurant for the roast beef, but owner Ricky Lopez saw a market for more. Top Round now uses the kitchen for three delivery-only restaurants, with specialties from chicken to ice cream.

The business model “brings in more, you know, opportunities that make more sales overall,” Lopez says.

Ghost kitchens follow a business model that’s taking off. Market analysts predict significant growth in digital restaurant orders this year.

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