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"love your queso!" | spooky kitchens #34
September 16th, 2022. Honestly? Kind of a boring week. But still some news worth reading.
Happy Friday y’all,
First thing’s first: it’s a quickie this week. Things are a little quiet as we gear up for late September and the start of the fall conference season / news cycle.
As a quick reminder, all green text is linked.* (*not always to anything important)
So what happened this week? (TL;DR)
(just here for drinks and a few) sides
🙅 Someone should tell Boise what happened in Buffalo (“New food delivery hub for California ‘cloud kitchen’ company planned for old HVAC business in Downtown Boise” Autumn Robertson). Oh, Boise Capital City Development Corp, I can’t fault you for swallowing Cloud’s pitch hook, line, and sinker. Although today, you certainly have less excuse than other cities in years past, with a plethora of recent high-profile revelations revealing Cloud’s antithetical stance against — or at minimum, deep neglect towards — its own clientele. But hey, surely it will be different in Idaho!
⚠️ Now is a dangerous, but perhaps critical, time for local food delivery (“This Bay Area food delivery business was a pandemic success story. Now it’s shutting down” Elena Kadavny, SF Chronicle). Pastel, a niche Bay Area food deliverer focused on city-wide deliveries of SF’s favorite baked goods, is shutting down. I want to say right off the bat that I don’t really think this is a growing trend (though it may be for San Francisco in particular), but local delivery firms like Pastel need to find ways to effectively expand, adjust, or evolve their concept to fit the new non-pandemic normal. That means understanding that you are competing for a food wallet far more balanced between groceries, dining in, and takeout/delivery, for the long(er) run. It also means that if delivery, that most expensive of conveniences, is first on the chopping block for people looking to cut everyday costs, then it makes sense that niche (pastry) delivery would be nixed even before that. Other local operations would do well to keep close ties with their customer base, continue broadening their footprint where possible, and consider leaning into less costly business offerings than on-demand delivery such as bulk orders and catering, and shifting their target market from “food-obsessive who’s constantly stalking Instagram for the latest pop-ups” to the more dependable (albeit boring) “office managers.”
🙈 Grubhub continues rolling slowly backwards in new third-party data from YipIt (“Two Charts Show Ongoing Third-Party Evolution” Nicholas Upton, Food On Demand). The data confirms that the once-raging “delivery wars” have mostly burned down to embers, occasionally flickering with life, but mostly, are settled. DoorDash maintains its unassailable grip on the top spot, Uber Eats its own iron hold in second, and Grubhub slip-sliding, losing bites of market share here and there in a distant third. Perhaps the most notable update from the data, which is largely as-expected (and not particularly evolutionary), is Pizza Hut’s lean-in to third-party delivery to compensate for diminishing first-party delivery orders and driver staffing challenges. Pizza Hut has been on third-party delivery platforms since at least 2019, but has depended more
🛑 Qdoba ignores all the warning signs for REEF, plays by its own rules (“Qdoba enters Austin, Texas, via Reef ghost kitchens” Emma Liem Beckett, Restaurant Dive). Love your queso! Best of luck!
😇 Dessert: No we’re really “right there” with the autonomous delivery revolution I promise (“Food delivery robot drives through LA crime scene” NBC News).
That’s spooky kitchens.
P.S. If you’re just jumping into ghost kitchens and want to learn more, check out my ghostly glossary and spooky kitchens ghost kitchen cheat sheet. They’re there to help make sense of this weird and wild west.
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