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US Foods Ghost Kitchens solution for independent restaurants unveiled

Preparatory program for restaurant operators includes robust training, marketing support

US Foods announced it had launched US Foods Ghost Kitchens for restaurants, a training and preparatory support program. The company—a top US foodservice distributor—said that the solution would help clients unleash additional top-line growth. Included in the ghost kitchen solution are resources and marketing support, as well as webinars and consultants that can provide one-on-one advice to restaurants.

The Rosemont, Ill.-based distributor will help restaurant operators identify a solution that can leverage local market conditions, in addition to creating brands and ignite the power of digital marketing. US Foods also provides resources to tap food-costing tools, analysis, recipes created by in-house chefs, and trends to maximize profitability.

Accompanied by webinars and a playbook, the preparatory program is fairly robust, suggest US Foods executives.

Ghost kitchens are a great way to expand to new markets without the costs of the four walls. Ongoing restrictions on dining rooms and the general unease of many consumers to return to restaurants has accelerated the popularity of these off-premise kitchen facilities that can be set up for takeout, including delivery and sometimes, pickup ordering, as well.

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“The Ghost Kitchens program was developed in response to growing interest among our customers, but we’ve also been tracking the trend, and ghost kitchens are projected to reach a $1 trillion global market by 2030, making them an attractive concept for operators even after dine-in restrictions are lifted,” said Jim Osborne, US Foods senior vice president of Customer Strategy and Innovation.

Many independent operators will choose to set up a ghost kitchen within their own restaurants, added Osborne. Major hospitality, technology and restaurant companies are eyeing the opportunity of ghost kitchens, and there’s a chance that many independent restaurants could get left behind.

Ghost kitchen provider Zuul raised $9M to expand its ghost-kitchen operations in New York, with plans to expand to all boroughs. It will expand head-to-head with Kitchen United in the city. sbe continues to launch virtual restaurants and plans to leverage real estate with Accor and Simon Properties to create virtual and actual food halls. Major targets include Los Angeles and New York.

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And Butler Hospitality, having raised $15M in a “Series A” funding round in July, develops ghost kitchens using under-utilized hotel kitchens. This is just a sampling of the many initiatives around the country that are tapping into the ghost-kitchen market.

Photo credit: US Foods (preview image – logo)

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