‘Dark kitchen’ chain functions with community restaurants to offer above food items supply apps

Stacey C. Slagle

The coronavirus has left lots of eating places battling as the pandemic pressured them to quickly shut their doors and continue to has many running at a reduce potential than regular.

Homeowners are hunting for techniques to convey in a lot more revenue. Rapid-relaxed Asian chain Wow Bao has a single thought: open up their cafe inside of an current cafe as a supply-only “dark kitchen” eatery.

Wow Bao, which serves up steamed bao, potstickers, dumplings, rice and noodle bowls, introduced on Wednesday that it has extra 100 spots in just six months by partnering with other dining establishments. Its food stuff is presented by using 3rd-occasion shipping and delivery solutions like UberEats, Grubhub, DoorDash, Postmates and Caviar.

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Geoff Alexander, president and CEO of Wow Bao, explained the organization came up with the partnership plan very last November.

“Although we did not visualize this initiative as a reaction to the COVID-19 crisis, we are happy to say our dim kitchen system is aiding operators to assistance spend lease and make use of personnel in purchase to survive this tricky time,” Alexander said in a push release.

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Wow Bao is not the only “virtual restaurant” to get benefit of the proliferation of meal supply companies for the duration of the pandemic. Chuck E. Cheese has been selling pizza below the title Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings on Grubhub. An increasing amount of eateries run “ghost kitchens,” leasing out kitchen area to other eating places or including other restaurant brand names to its offerings for takeout and shipping and delivery only. And there are also “cloud kitchens,” which perform solely with shipping models.

These varieties of discounts aren’t just great for restaurants looking at a slump in small business. The brands they do the job with can use them to test out their products and solutions in new markets. The California-dependent Lemonade Dining places not too long ago opened its 1st ghost kitchen area in Extensive Beach front, allowing it to increase to the town “in file time and with a really small financial investment,” co-CEO Anthony Pigliacampo explained to QSR Magazine.

“In just 3 months, we moved from web page identification to offering foods to company,” Pigliacampo informed QSR. “This would have been difficult with a brick and mortar web-site.”

Wow Bao mentioned its partnership is different from ghost kitchens due to the fact it ships frozen goods to its associate eating places to be prepared by their kitchen staff members.


Edmund Woo, the proprietor of the Saskatoon Lodge in Greenville, S.C., and a Wow Bao companion, explained in a prepared assertion that the process of integrating Wow Bao into his kitchen was “seamless.”

“I have experienced present personnel to manage the creation at virtually no incremental value,” he mentioned. “The capacity to not only proceed working during these kinds of a vulnerable time, but to enable improve margins, is instrumental to assistance retain business enterprise.”

Wow Bao stated its dark kitchens are now in far more than 55 towns in 22 states and it ideas to incorporate 100 far more places by the close of the year.

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