Zuul Kitchens already has the likes of Sweetgreen on board.

By Mike Pomranz
August 26, 2019
The Washington Post/Getty Images

As online ordering has taken over, we've continually been told that the future of restaurants is delivery — with chains saying they expect it to make up a larger and larger portion of their business. In theory, if you follow this to its (unlikely) conclusion, delivery could take over all of a restaurant's business, and thus the restaurant itself isn't even needed anymore. Yes, it's bit dystopian from the world we know, but the truth is that, though restaurants aren't going anywhere, the idea of "ghost" or "cloud" kitchens — restaurant that exist solely for delivery — continue to gain momentum.

In New York City, the newest ghost kitchen will be arriving in Soho next month, according to Eater. Zuul Kitchens — named after that famous NYC ghost from Ghostbusters — will reportedly offer nine kitchens in a 5,000-square-foot space, a place for existing restaurants to set up shop and focus solely on filling delivery orders. And restaurants are ready to set up shop: Sweetgreen, Junzi, Sarge's, Naya, Stone Bridge Pizza & Salad, and Positive Foods are all listed by Eater as renting space from Zuul.

And since Zuul is focused on delivery, the company really wants to focus on delivery. Apparently, the plan is to attempt to turnover orders in just 15 minutes or less despite using the usual litany of third-party delivery services. To encourage those drivers to opt-in to their orders, Zuul will even reportedly offer driver perks like phone charging stations, seating for drivers (not for diners!), and free coffee, tea and water. Eater also tosses out the idea that Zuul could offer a "Zuul Menu" allowing customers to select an order from multiple restaurants in the building as part of one delivery — an intriguing idea.

Zuul is said to already be looking to open more location throughout New York City and possibly beyond.  If so, they'll encounter plenty of competition in this emerging industry: Just last month, we covered Kitchen United which runs a similar concept in Los Angeles and Chicago. And others are out there too. You might not see them, but the "ghosts" live among us — and there numbers appear to be growing. Hopefully, this doesn't end with a giant marshmallow man.

Advertisement