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Ghost kitchen industry expected to continue to grow, many kitchens located in Evansville

Evansville WFIE 10/10/2022 Tanner Holbrook
Ghost kitchen industry expected to continue to grow, many kitchens located in Evansville © Provided by Evansville WFIE Ghost kitchen industry expected to continue to grow, many kitchens located in Evansville

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - It’s a type of restaurant you may have ordered from and may have not even known about it. Ghost, or virtual kitchens are a newer concept, and there are several of them in the Evansville area.

Ghost kitchens are typically delivery only kitchens that mainly sell their products through third-party delivery apps, like DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats. In many cases, these brands utilize the kitchen at popular restaurants. For example, ghost kitchen Fresh Set is operated out of Red Robin.

Patrick Tamm, president and CEO of the Indiana Restaurant Lodging Associations said Ghost kitchens are growing significantly within the restaurant industry.

“Really it’s a reflection of the economy,” said Tamm. “You have consumers that continue to look for carry out delivery of meals, but also restaurants are trying to maximize their restaurant space.”

One restaurant in the virtual space is Wow Bao. CEO Geoff Alexander said the restaurant started as a brick and morter years ago, but expanded into the virtual kitchen space within the last several years.

“Our goal is to help restaurants grow revenue and grow profit, for those who were just sort of breaking even like the mom and pop coffee shop,” said Alexander.

Alexander said they launched their first location in January of 2020, and then COVID hit in April. Now, he said they are in 600 locations.

Wow Bao was even in Evansville, masked by the west side Fazoli’s. That partnership isn’t active right now, according to Alexander.

“But it wasn’t ever made about how fast how big can we grow Wow Bao, it was about how can we help the industry,” said Alexander.

It’s innovation like this that is now extended to the Tri-State area.

“During the pandemic, and as we continue, you’ve seen rapid use of innovation...” said Tamm. “So, you’re going to continue to see that in the restaurant space, I think our customers expect that.”

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