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jerryking : kitchens   18

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 
8 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 
8 weeks ago by jerryking
How to Organize Your Kitchen Like a Professional Chef
April 3, 2019 | The New York Times | By Janelle Zara.

“Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat,” by chef Samin Nosrat focuses on those four elements as the pillars of flavor.

An exacting standard of organization......is what keeps fast-paced kitchens running smoothly. “When you have a place for everything, you don’t have to think twice,” she says, because there’s no searching for what you need. “It’s about not having to do the extra work.”....... organize your the cabinets, pantry and drawers in the kitchen — because, “just throwing things in a drawer is selling yourself short.”

All cookware should fall under the four pillars of “prep, cook, serve, store,” and should be divided accordingly. Drawers marked “PREP” includes tools like mixing bowls, mortar and pestle, a scale and a measuring glass, while the “COOK” drawer is full of pots and pans. Items for serving — plates, bowls and glasses — are in the cupboard, her resealable containers are all stacked in a drawer of their own, and never shall the four ever meet.

Sort by flavor and function

“Knowing there’s a zone for everything makes it easier to just go and find,” says Bennett, whose refrigerator contents have been grouped based on flavor profile and function: Asian sauces, American sauces, fruits, vegetables and pickled things each have a designated section. On the countertop, she keeps what she calls her “flavor station,” a reliable wooden bowl stocked with shallots, garlic and red onions. “They’re the raw materials,” she says, “the all-around the basics of good flavor.

Date and label

With all these identical containers, knowing what’s inside and when you bought it is essential. There are, however, no label makers here. “In a professional kitchen, everything is labeled with painters tape,” Bennett says, “but chalkboard paint with a chalkboard pen looks nice, and it’s also easier to read.”

Keep everything in plain sight

Bennett hates the guessing game of pulling knives out of a butcher block to see which is which. She prefers to keep them in a drawer or on a magnetic strip mounted to the wall. “It’s all about visibility and making it easily accessible,” she says. On the same note, she transfers her dry goods to labeled, transparent plastic or glass containers from Restaurant Depot or the Container Store so that she can always see what’s inside, a trick she learned from doing restaurant inventory.

Keep your gadgets to a minimum

The tools in your kitchen don’t need to spark joy, but you should toss the things you never use, no single-utility items.

Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket

Separating like items into different trays and baskets makes them easier to grab on the go: All of Bennett’s vitamins and medicine bottles are in one tray in the fridge; her utensils are divided up by open rectangular boxes in drawers;

Keep shopping bags in the car
That way you’ll never forget to bring them to the market.

Store essentials close at hand
“Counter space is precious real estate,” (jk: finite_resources ) says Bennett, so only the truly necessary basics get to stay there.
books  chefs  fast-paced  finite_resources  GTD  howto  kitchens  self-discipline  self-organization 
april 2019 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
What's the most versatile frying pan?
Jan. 01 2013| The Globe and Mail | BONNY REICHERT
best_of  kitchens  utensils  steel 
january 2013 by jerryking
Op-Ed Columnist - Cancer From the Kitchen? - NYTimes.com
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: December 5, 2009 I asked these doctors what they do in their
own homes to reduce risks. They said that they avoid microwaving food in
plastic or putting plastics in the dishwasher, because heat may cause
chemicals to leach out. And the symposium handed out a reminder card
listing “safer plastics” as those marked (usually at the bottom of a
container) 1, 2, 4 or 5.

It suggests that the “plastics to avoid” are those numbered 3, 6 and 7
(unless they are also marked “BPA-free”). Yes, the evidence is
uncertain, but my weekend project is to go through containers in our
house and toss out 3’s, 6’s and 7’s.
health  environment  cancers  kitchens 
december 2009 by jerryking

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