Dive Brief: Famous Dave’s is planning to test ghost restaurants as a way to serve a separate menu of fried fowl and burgers in Michigan and California, CEO Jeff Crivello informed Nation’s Restaurant News. The menu may be published on Grubhub below a brand new name, but food may be made internal a Famous Dave’s kitchen. The casual dining chain additionally plans to run a pilot of virtual kitchens which have small footprints and run off-premise and catering operations for Famous Dave’s. Dive Insight: Ghost restaurants and virtual kitchens are increasingly gaining reputation amongst eating places, mainly in New York, to attempt new menu objects and ideas while not having to drastically alternate operations or open new locations. On the opposite hand, clients have complained that those ideas regularly lack transparency, since it’s miles difficult to realize the eating place they are ordering from on-line would not in reality have a storefront. For many restaurants, the value outweighs the chance.
Traditional eating places can chance round $800,000 to test new standards, but if a menu flops at a ghost eating place, it costs about $25,000 in line with Fast Company. Many digital kitchen operators additionally provide the wanted infrastructure from equipment to tech structures to assist eating places expand. Kitchen United, which raised over $10 million in funding in October, plans to start working kitchen centers in Austin, Scottsdale, Atlanta and Columbus, Ohio, in the coming months, according to Hospitality Tech. By the stop of 2019, it expects to open 15 kitchen centers in various markets together with Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver and New York City. 2ndKitchen garnered about $1.Four million in extra funding in February. Uber Eats, which has approximately 1,000 digital kitchens on its platform, has additionally been attempting out digital restaurants, the use of facts to parent out what customers were searching for, but now not finding, in precise markets. Famous Dave’s isn’t the most effective casual chain that has been testing transport-only standards, either. Red Robin commenced rolling out delivery-only places in 2017 to provide signature menu items and catering. Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba’s additionally has been trying out a shipping- and takeout-best idea. Famous Dave’s, which has 127 franchise places and 17 business enterprise-owned eating places, is creating a huge push into off-premise, which now makes up 50% of its sales, in line with Nation’s Restaurant News. Ghost eating places and virtual kitchens may be a herbal addition, so it is going to be thrilling to peer how these standards impact its to-go and catering income, which had been up three.Four% and 0.5%, respectively, at some stage in 2018.