Why ‘ghost’ restaurants are changing the delivery game

Delivery-only concepts are using data to fill gaps in the market and experiment with their menus faster than traditional formats.

To meet customers where they are, restaurants have been all but forced to embrace online ordering for pickup and delivery. While major brands including Chipotle, Panera and Roti have added second lines to accommodate the influx of carryout orders, other brands and third-party platforms have turned to an entirely new model: the virtual restaurant.

Also known as “ghost kitchens” or “headless restaurants,” these businesses don’t employ a robust front-of-house staff. They don’t have seating. They don’t really have a storefront. They exist solely online, on the apps and websites of aggregate delivery services. In many cases, these restaurants don’t have a web presence outside their page on platforms like Grubhub or Uber Eats.


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