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Fat Brands partners with Epic Kitchens for opening of first ghost kitchen in Chicago

Chicago part of a broader development agreement for 20 ghost kitchens

Fat Brands announced it had opened a ghost kitchen in Chicago for delivery only. The parent and franchisor of Fatburger, Buffalo’s Cafe, Buffalo’s Express, Hurricane Grill & Wings, Ponderosa & Bonanza Steakhouses, Elevation Burger, and Yalla Mediterranean also revealed that its franchisees already operate 20 virtual restaurants through third-party delivery providers. Virtual restaurants offer a specialized menu under branding that exists in the virtual world only, in partnership with third-party delivery providers.

Restaurants have embraced the emerging business model of ghost kitchens. According to an April webinar presented by Technomic and hosted by Senior Principal David Henkes, the current health crisis will only accelerate the use of ghost kitchens. Hospitality company sbe, for example, is launching C3, a collaboration for food halls and ghost kitchens in several major markets around the country. Currently, the company is hiring 1,000 professionals to support these operations.

Restaurant businesses and technology companies are looking to develop business models that can be shared across brands, can scale quickly and that provide enhanced restaurant profit margins.

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The Fat Brands deal with Epic Kitchens will create another 19 ghost kitchens as part of a larger development agreement. Epic will develop these in key locations across Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and New York. “During a time of uncertainty in the restaurant space, ghost kitchens provide effective solutions for both restaurant owners and customers,” said Andy Wiederhorn, chief executive of Fat Brands.

At the start of the operation, the new Fat Brands ghost kitchen will offer Fatburger, Buffalo’s Express, and Hurricane Grill & Wings menu items only through third-providers. The company will add Yalla Mediterranean to the ghost kitchen later on this year.

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Uber Eats, Postmates, Doordash, and Grubhub will participate in Fat Brands’ delivery model and offer delivery specials in the Chicago market:

  • DoorDash – Free delivery through May 31, 2020
  • Uber Eats – $5 off $20 order from now through May 31, 2020
  • Grubhub – $5 off $20 order between April 28 and May 31, 2020

Photo credit: Fat Brands, Epic Kitchen (preview image)

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