The Future. Ghost kitchens were supposed to represent over 20% of the restaurant industry by 2025, but it turns out they were mostly just a pandemic fad. Ghost kitchens are out, and your usual 2019 dining trends are back in. The ghost kitchens that may survive the return to normalcy are the ones tethered to a reputable brand or celebrity.
Delivery-only, non-physical restaurants are disappearing.
- Despite planning a huge expansion in 2021, Wendy’s announced that it was closing its entire US ghost kitchen business.
- Butler Hospitality, a ghost kitchen company focused on hotels, shut down last year.
- Buzzy CloudKitchens even lost deals with several restaurants it was working with.
- Another cloud kitchen organization, Reef Technologies, is shifting to focus on airports and stadiums.
Why the sudden downturn? Although ghost kitchens were popular during the pandemic, people actually aren’t fans of restaurants just serving their menus under a different name, the existence of dozens of copycat restaurants (UberEats started deleting duplicate menus), or the general lack of transparency (health codes, anyone?).
And with life returning to normal, it turns out people are more than happy to return to their regularly scheduled programming of going out to eat, hitting up a drive-thru, or just ordering food from their favorite spots.