What is the difference between a dark kitchen and a ghost kitchen?

Ghost kitchens (also sometimes called cloud kitchens, dark kitchens, or virtual kitchens) are also only available online, but they don't work in an existing restaurant. Often they don't have any physical counterpart. Instead, they are left without space rented to a third party. Unlike a virtual kitchen, a ghost kitchen isn't connected to a regular restaurant.

Ghost kitchens, on the other hand, are completely independent. The owner of the restaurant creates a menu, but instead of opening a physical place, he prepares his dishes in a kitchen closed to the public. Some ghost kitchens use their own kitchens, while others operate in shared facilities with other ghost kitchens. Of course, dark kitchens, virtual kitchens, virtual restaurants and ghost kitchens wouldn't be possible without several technological and social factors.

This means that there is a central kitchen where food is prepared and delivered to the auxiliary kitchen. It's undeniable that ghost kitchens have left their mark on the global gastronomic industry, changing the way diners obtain food and the way business owners think about preparing it. These kitchens are not found in restaurants, but in shared economy spaces, such as Kitchen United or Zuul. Dark kitchens, virtual kitchens, virtual restaurants and ghost kitchens are terms that have been used with some confusion to describe recent developments in remote dining.

Now that you understand the difference between a delivery kitchen, in the cloud and a ghost kitchen, it's quite simple to understand the business model of a kitchen in the cloud. Some say that dark kitchens are the original version of the trend, in which new or existing restaurants rent out pre-existing kitchen spaces. Since they already have space in the kitchen, the pizzeria uses this equipment to prepare the new dishes. For those who are not familiar with the concept, this can lead to confusion, since many types of ghost kitchens may or may not have a brand aimed at the public.

For example, virtual kitchens don't participate at all in kitchen operations, but rely on remote teams to create the menus they create. Most experts agree that ghost kitchens are here to stay, so if you want to take advantage of the trend for yourself, you probably won't have much trouble. It remains to be seen how these factors will continue to shape the existence of ghost kitchens in the future. For example, delivery provider DoorDash recently launched DoorDash Kitchens, a shared ghost kitchen space in Northern California.

Another example of a ghost kitchen is The Local Culinary, which offers space only to virtual brands developed in-house. When a customer places an order, they are redirected to the nearest virtual kitchen from where the prepared food is delivered to the central kitchen.

Maxine Willia
Maxine Willia

Passionate internet geek. Proud zombie scholar. Extreme coffee trailblazer. Amateur music fan. Award-winning coffee maven. Hipster-friendly music ninja.

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