Mar 10, 2023 - Food and Drink

The brands behind some of Richmond's ghost kitchens

Animated gif of a chef's hat with ghost eyes floating above the ground

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

On Wednesday, three new restaurants will celebrate their Richmond openings, but you'll never dine in any of them.

Driving the news: ChefSuite, the latest ghost kitchen to hit town, officially opens Wednesday on Broad Street near Staples Mill.

  • To start, the space houses On A Roll Italian Subs, Latin Quarter Kitchen and A Pinch of Sugar — three unique restaurant concepts with separate ownership, different hours and all operating out of the same building.
  • The restaurants are only accessible digitally for takeout or delivery, either from their websites, third-party apps or from an in-person ordering app in the ChefSuite space.

Why it matters: Ghost kitchens are digital-only restaurants designed for takeout and delivery, often housing multiple restaurant concepts under one roof and under brands you'll never see on a roadside sign.

  • And they're changing the way we eat and think about dining out.

Yes, but: From a consumer perspective, it can be difficult to understand who you're ordering from — especially when using third party delivery apps.

Zoom in: Cosmic Wings, offering chicken wings and tenders, is coming to you out of your neighborhood Applebee's.

And depending on which app you check and what part of town you're in, around six different unique restaurants are actually coming to you out of one convenience store in South Richmond.

Zoom out: Ghost kitchens aren't new — they've been around for nearly a decade, but the pandemic and third-party delivery apps accelerated their growth — and they're already evolving.

  • 🤯 Last year, the ghost kitchen trend was usurped by a new one: virtual food halls, per industry publication Restaurant Business — they're like ghost kitchens, but customers can also choose to dine-in.

The bottom line: The restaurant industry is constantly evolving — let's just hope food continues to be part of it.

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