It's fair to say that the commercial real estate sector may not ever have been described as innovative and certainly its ability to "flex" has rightly been called into question in the past.
How refreshing it is then to hear stories highlighting areas of flexibility. Ghost Kitchens are not a new concept but their place in the sector has taken on a very different relevance in recent times.
The ability to re purpose existing spaces to cope with increased demand in some areas and decreased or variable demand in others is possibly a matter of survival or liquidation for a vast number of operators and landlords / developers.
With increased numbers of people likely working from home into the foreseeable future can we expect to see repurposed spaces in commuter towns with pop-up cafes, restaurants and bars with pick up points for online shopping ?
The thought of Ghost Kitchens at the heart of mixed community hub covering both pick up and delivery requirements seems rather sensible. Having these concepts adding to the sense of neighbourhood is rather appealing and with more and more office workers being turned away from a 1 or 2 hour each way commute 5 days a week and with increased pressures on the logistics of warehouse to home delivery its seems there is a very real opportunity to provide new experiences and uses incorporating online shopping collection points in what we would have previously labelled "commuter belt" towns and villages.
Fingers crossed to see this kind of innovation in the UK coming to a neighbourhood near you.....
For restaurants that have already established themselves in the physical world, ghost kitchens can be a way to adapt to shifting trends. Frjtz, a San Francisco restaurant beloved for its Belgian-style fries, closed its brick-and-mortar location in the Mission in 2019, after nearly twenty years in business, and now operates—delivery only—via CloudKitchens. Delivery-only kitchens can also work as a sort of triage effort for restaurants that are doing well.