“Ghost Restaurants” Are a Thing Now

Not every restaurant on your food delivery app is a real place.

Casper the Friendly Ghost

Today still feels unreal, so let’s look at something else that’s almost unfathomable but also inevitable: ghost restaurants.

Hold The Storefront: How Delivery-Only “Ghost” Restaurants Are Changing Takeout

Sadly, these are not restaurants for ghosts, although I look forward to that hour-long teen drama eventually making its way to ABC’s Freeform.

Instead, these are large kitchens making multiple types of cuisine for restaurants that don’t technically exist. As Fast Company explains, a customer might order a sandwich from a quirky joint called “Butcher Block”—it has its own Instagram feed!—without realizing that the sandwich is being made in a food-production facility owned by ghost restaurant company Green Summit.

“To the consumer, it’s very much a kitchen,” [Green Summit cofounder Peter Schatzberg] says. “There’s an area with a grill, people working and portioning, and a room adjacent to the kitchen where orders are assembled. They’re all made to order, and stations are set up by category. For instance, there’s a sandwich area producing sandwiches for multiple brands. All the ingredients across brands are in the same areas, but you get specialization in staff where they focus on making salads and sandwiches, for instance. That’s all they do. It makes a better quality product, which ties into economies of scale.”

“Butcher Block” isn’t real, in the sense that you can’t take your friends there—but maybe it is real, in the sense that Green Summit is selling sandwiches they claim to be made at a place called Butcher Block, and if that place is just part of a table in a large room, it’s still a place.

Read the whole Fast Company article, because it’s mind-boggling—and then let us know if you think you’ve ever ordered from a ghost restaurant.

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