The Dish on Ghost Kitchens! - Paster Training

The Dish on Ghost Kitchens!

What is a Ghost Kitchen?

Ever hear of the term Ghost Kitchens? So, what are they? They are direct to consumer delivery (D2C) only kitchens. Ghost Kitchens are defined as professional food preparation and cooking facilities set up for the preparation of delivery only meals with non-face-to-face communication, where ordering happens via an online platform. They will have no customers coming to the place of business to sit and eat however, some will have pick-up options in addition to delivery. Many will not even know that their building is a foodservice facility, hence the name Ghost Kitchen. Ghost Kitchens do not have a traditional storefront or indoor seating. Even very large brands have created Ghost Kitchens that only make and deliver their food in an effort to take the pressure off of their actual restaurants.

Virtual Brands use Ghost Kitchens

Virtual Brands have also been blooming. A virtual brand is a company that is selling on-line only. There is no “restaurant” to visit to eat. All foods are delivery only. The brand is known virtually, but there is no “restaurant” to visit physically.

Ghost Kitchens have many variations

There are numerous “models” that you may find with ghost kitchens. Ghost kitchens may be stand-alone businesses in a building producing their own food and having it delivered direct to the consumer. Some may be Shared Kitchens where there are numerous businesses under one roof. Some have their own kitchens in that building, some share one big common kitchen, some use an already existing permitted kitchen to prepare food during off hours or in segregated areas. How we unwind these models for regulatory permitting can become quite complicated.

Food Safety / Quality Concerns with Ghost Kitchens

But there are unique concerns with these types of kitchens. One is the delivery process to the customer. Will the food get to the consumer safety? Is the business delivering the food or are the using a third-party delivery service? Is temperature of the food being controlled once the food leaves the kitchen? What about a delivery driver who had a little taste testing on the way to deliver the food because the packaging did not have tamper-resistant seals or stickers to alert the consumer their prepackage food was opened? Yuck! But in a recent study, approximately 1 in 4 delivery drivers admit to trying the food they are supposed to be delivering.

Licensing & Regulatory concerns with Ghost Kitchens

The second concern is licensing and legal responsibility. How are these various business concepts regulated and licensed? A shared kitchen space but could have five to ten independent chefs making meal kits. There are host food companies that have multiple kitchens and dozens of independent chefs making food under the host facility’s brand. Who holds the food license? Who is controlling and documenting proper cooking and cooling procedures are being performed? Who is ensuring basic food safety practices (SOP’s, SSOP’s) such as handwashing, glove usage, exclude or restrict, cross-contamination, cross-contact, and cleaning and sanitizing are followed? Who is verifying the integrity of the necessary logs to ensure the entire process is properly documented and evaluated for food safety before the food leaves the facility?

Is your Ghost Kitchen in compliance with regulatory & licensing requirements?

Believe it or not, these kitchens have actually been around for a few years but exploded in the marketplace when the pandemic hit. Many operations had to reinvent themselves. It was either this or go out of business as operators were forced to shut down their dining areas. Some foodservice facilities were able to switch to takeout only, deliver their food, or use 3rd party delivery services to the consumer.
There are a lot of questions that you must consider with Ghost Kitchens. We can help you get the right answers for your business for any of the following:
  • Navigating the regulatory agencies and licensing
  • Inspecting the facility and working with your team to put a game plan together
  • Organizing and helping implement food safety practices and procedures
Most importantly, we help you sleep at night! Call us @ 866-394-1776 to see how we can help your business
For some additional information visit the NEHA’s YouTube webinar and the Guidance Document for Direct-to-Consumer and Third-Party Delivery Service Food Delivery at:

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