There's no question that more restaurants big and small are embracing dark kitchens amid the pandemic. The number of eateries using these concepts grew from 15% pre-pandemic to 51% in May, according to Technomic data.
But while major chains are entering the space to open up another revenue stream or expand into new markets at a reduced cost, plenty of small operators are turning to ghost kitchens just to survive.
The trend may already be having a ripple effect on the industry. Over the past few months, third-party ghost kitchen platforms serving independent restaurants have grown — and are growing — substantially.