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jerryking : commercial_kitchens   14

The Rise of the Virtual Restaurant
Aug. 14, 2019 | The New York Times | By Mike Isaac and David Yaffe-Bellany.

Virtual restaurants” exist with no physical storefronts, tables or chairs. They exist only inside a mobile app, like Uber Eats, the on-demand meal delivery service owned by Uber......Food delivery apps like Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub are starting to reshape the $863 billion American restaurant industry. As more people order food to eat at home, and as delivery becomes faster and more convenient, the apps are changing the very essence of what it means to operate a restaurant.

No longer must restaurateurs rent space for a dining room. All they need is a kitchen — or even just part of one. Then they can hang a shingle inside a meal-delivery app and market their food to the app’s customers, without the hassle and expense of hiring waiters or paying for furniture and tablecloths. Diners who order from the apps may have no idea that the restaurant doesn’t physically exist.

The shift has popularized two types of digital culinary establishments. One is “virtual restaurants,” which are attached to real-life restaurants like Mr. Lopez’s Top Round but make different cuisines specifically for the delivery apps. The other is “ghost kitchens,” which have no retail presence and essentially serve as a meal preparation hub for delivery orders.

“Online ordering is not a necessary evil. It’s the most exciting opportunity in the restaurant industry today,”....Many of the delivery-only operations are nascent, but their effect may be far-reaching, potentially accelerating people’s turn toward order-in food over restaurant visits and preparing home-cooked meals.

Uber and other companies are driving the change. Since 2017, the ride-hailing company has helped start 4,000 virtual restaurants with restaurateurs which are exclusive to its Uber Eats app.....Uber Eats analyzes neighborhood sales data to identify unmet demand for particular cuisines (e.g. "there is demand for late-night orders of burgers and ice cream in your area"). Then it approaches restaurants that use the app and encourages them to create a virtual restaurant to meet that demand.....Restaurants that use delivery apps like Uber Eats and Grubhub pay commissions of 15 percent to as much as 30 percent on every order......Delivery apps may also undermine the connection between diner and chef. ....Delivery-only facilities “take away the emotional connection and the creative redemption.”....In Europe, the food-delivery app Deliveroo also started testing ghost kitchens.....Ghost kitchens have also emerged in China, where online food delivery apps are widely used in the country’s densely populated megacities.
brands  DoorDash  commercial_kitchens  emotional_connections  food_delivery  kitchens  mobile_applications  restaurants  Uber_Eats  GrubHub  on-demand  unmet_demand  virtual_restaurants 
7 weeks ago by jerryking
Momofuku’s Secret Sauce: A 30-Year-Old C.E.O.
Aug. 16, 2019 | The New York Times | By Elizabeth G. Dunn.

Momofuku was founded in 2004, with an East Village ramen bar that, after some initial stumbles, wowed diners by combining pristine ingredients and impeccable technique in humble dishes that melded influences from Japan to Korea to the American south. Since then, it has become a private-equity backed company with restaurants from Sydney to Los Angeles; a growing chain of fast-casual chicken sandwich shops; a media production unit churning out television shows and podcasts; and designs on creating a line of sauces and seasonings that could capture supermarket aisles across America. While Mr. Chang is the brand’s lodestar, Ms. Mariscal, 30, is the executive who makes it all work.

Born and raised on the Upper West Side, to the family that founded the specialty foods emporium Zabar’s, Ms. Mariscal began her career at Momofuku in 2011, as a public relations and events intern. Over the years, she quietly became Mr. Chang’s closest collaborator and confidante, a largely unknown force shaping matters as varied as menu design, branding and business development. “She’s the only person I’ve ever felt comfortable giving complete carte blanche to, in terms of what Momofuku looks like and what it should be,” Mr. Chang said. He recalled suggesting to the company’s board that Ms. Mariscal be named C.E.O. almost four years ago, when she was 26. She finally assumed the role in April.

It’s not unusual for a chef like Mr. Chang to parlay cooking talent and charisma into restaurants, cookbooks and television shows — a formula pioneered by the likes of Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay and Rick Bayless in the 1990s. But chef-driven food brands of the scope and ambition that Mr. Chang and Ms. Mariscal envision for Momofuku, with dozens of locations and mainstream packaged food products, are harder to pull off.

Adding to the challenge is Momofuku’s particular identity, which revolves less around a distinct culinary tradition than an attitude of restless innovation, boundary pushing and spontaneity. A formulaic chain of steakhouses, Momofuku ain’t. Scaling that ethos requires a tightrope act: Create enough structure and continuity to stave off chaos, without destroying the brand’s animating spirit in the process.
Asian  brands  branding  business_development  CEOs  chefs  commercial_kitchens  David_Cheng  detail_oriented  differentiation  diversification  food  founders  fusion  growth  high-standards  interns  investors  kitchens  leadership  Momofuku  organizational_structure  restauranteurs  restaurants  scaling  special_sauce  women  workaholic 
7 weeks ago by jerryking
Ghost kitchens : the next disruption in the restaurant industry ?
8 Jan, 2018 | intotheminds | Posted By Pierre-Nicolas Schwab.

(1) https://www.restaurant-hospitality.com/operations/ubereats-nudges-operators-toward-virtual-restaurants
(2) https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/oct/28/deliveroo-dark-kitchens-pop-up-feeding-the-city-london#img-3

ghost kitchen make perfect economic sense : margins are thin in the restaurant industry, driven by high employees-related costs, rent, expensive equipment and variability in demand. Setting up a restaurant is a bet with a 5 to 20-year time horizon depending on myriad factors : your positioning, the location, and many exogenous factors out of your control. Eliminating all those risks seems like a logical move :

how to make a restaurant less location-dependent ?
how to adapt quickly to demand ?
how to reduce fixed costs (renting and equipping a place) ?
The bright sides : 3 major advantages of ghost kitchens

**The 3 major advantages of ghost kitchens are their answers to the 3 problems listed above :

the restaurant is not location-dependant anymore. If there is an event likely to generate massive flow of potential customers, you can move
ghost kitchens can adapt quickly to demand : the standardized kitchen unit just has to be multipled, which is not possible with street food vans unless you own several of them (which brings us to the 3rd advantage).
ghost kitchens, because they are rented from online platforms like Uber Eats and Deliveroo, transfom fixed costs into variable ones. This is great to test your idea and is a cheap way to do market research and test traction on a market.

** The dark sides of Uber’s and Deliveroo’s ghost kitchens
1. Why would one still rent a place to operate a restaurant ?
Good question indeed. If all hurdles and risks of operating a brick-and-mortar restaurant can be removed, why would you still want to rent a place (fixed costs), buy the equipment (fixed costs), hire employees (fixed costs) and wait on patrons to come in (variable revenues) ? If a platform like Uber or Deliveroo can provide you with customers’ orders, the need to have a brick-and-mortar place would vanish.
But if every single restaurant owner adopts that posture, how will city centers look like on the long run ?

2. Dependence towards platforms
What happened with the hospitality sector may well happen on the middle-term in the restaurant industry too. Uber eats, Deliveroo have disrupted the way we consume food. This is a new societal change that is most to be felt in Europe (urban Americans use already to get food delivered to their homes, most restaurants in US cities proposing at home delivery) : it has become easier than ever to get food delivered at home.
If enough restaurant owners make a significant percentage of their revenues through those platforms, they will eventually become dependent on them and will struggle like hotels are now struggling with Booking.com. Using platforms is a wise strategy to grow revenues but it can also become a very dangerous one if your dependence to them increases.
beyond_your_control  commercial_kitchens  disruption  fixed_costs  food_delivery  kitchens  platforms  restaurants  variable_costs  Deliveroo  Uber  asset-light  event-driven  experimentation  test_marketing  pop-ups  cold_storage  on-demand  dark_side  virtual_restaurants  bricks-and-mortar 
january 2019 by jerryking
The rise of chef ‘supergroups’ means more creative and experimental kitchens across the country - The Globe and Mail
Behind the restaurant’s unassuming façade is a powerhouse of some of Canada’s most talented and successful restaurateurs. The team behind the Joe Beef empire, Frédéric Morin, David McMillan, Allison Cunningham, as well as Marc-Olivier Frappier and Vanya Filipovic (Mon Lapin, Vin Papillon), Chris Morgan and James Simpkins (Liverpool House) have teamed up with chef Derek Dammann (Maison Publique) to create a kind of culinary supergroup – the Traveling Wilburys of rotisserie chicken......Somewhat counterintuitively, then, comradery, and perhaps a survivors' bond over having made it in an industry known to chew cooks up and spit them out, is bringing chefs together. McKiernan is just one example of chefs partnering with their would-be competitors to open places where the whole is, hopefully, greater than the sum of its parts......
chefs  collaboration  restaurants  restauranteurs  kitchens  cold_storage  commercial_kitchens  experimentation 
november 2018 by jerryking
The Quarterback of the Kitchen? It’s Not Always the Chef - The New York Times
By Tejal Rao

April 17, 2018

You’re most likely to notice it in the abstract, if you notice it at all. The work of a good expediter is in the pacing of your dinner. It’s in the steadiness of the room. It’s in the sense that everyone in the restaurant is moving to a single, unbreakable rhythm.
cooking  management  restaurants  expediting  data_driven  commercial_kitchens 
may 2018 by jerryking
Whole Foods to Close All Three Regional Kitchens - WSJ
By ANNIE GASPARRO and JESSE NEWMAN
Updated Jan. 25, 2017

Whole Foods Market Inc. is closing its three commercial kitchens, where it makes ready-to-eat meals for stores, including one location which received a regulatory warning about food safety violations last year.

The decision to outsource the food preparation, which was announced to employees last week, comes as Whole Foods works to cut costs by centralizing certain functions and reducing its workforce. ...to streamline operations, we have decided to leverage the expertise of our supplier network to create some of the high-quality prepared foods sold in our stores...Supermarkets across the sector are offering more prepared meals, with some even opening sushi restaurants and wine bars inside their stores. Fresh prepared foods generated $15 billion in sales in supermarkets in 2005, a figure that has nearly doubled to about $28 billion last year, according to Technomic, a food industry research firm.

But the explosion of prepared meals has brought new food-safety issues.
Whole_Foods  grocery  commercial_kitchens  supermarkets  food_safety  product_recalls  Outsourcing  prepared_meals  FDA  centralization  high-quality 
january 2017 by jerryking
Anh Nguy: Research Is Her Recipe - The New York Times
ocations
As told to PATRICIA R. OLSEN

Q. What do you do as a culinologist for Ingredion?

A. Culinology is a fusion of culinary arts and food science. Culinologists typically create food concepts for food companies and restaurants that end up on store shelves and menus. We are also known as research chefs. People come to Ingredion for the ingredients we manufacture, like starches, texturizers and sweeteners, or to collaborate on a product. I work on both types of projects in our professional test kitchen, and I also give presentations to potential customers. I’ll ask them if they want natural ingredients, a gluten-free product and so forth.
commercial_kitchens  food  career_paths  research  OPMA  foodservice  flavours  food_science  recipes  manufacturers  niches  Toronto  clusters  innovation  chefs 
november 2015 by jerryking

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