Barcelona against ghost kitchens: licenses for ‘delivery’ restaurants are suspended to protect traditional ones
The Barcelona City Council has approved the suspension of construction and activity licenses for the known as ghost kitchens, restaurants dedicated entirely to online sales, without tables or waiters. It is a business that in recent years has been experiencing strong growth, in parallel to the business of ‘delivery’ and the delivery of food at home.
According Explain Janet Sanz, second deputy mayor and councilor for Ecology and Urbanism: “it is a reality that it is not regulated and we need a proposal to study it. “To save time, Barcelona has decided to suspend the licenses of this type of virtual restaurant for a year.
Unregulated competition for traditional restaurants
Among the reasons put forward by the City Council is that these virtual restaurants do not comply with the regulations and that they represent unfair competition for traditional restaurants. Jaume Collboni, First Deputy Mayor, explains that “add competition without rules at this very difficult time for the catering sector one of the big platforms would be to give the final touch to many bars and restaurants in the city. “
The Barcelona Restoration Guild has expressed that they support this measure and describe the proliferation of these ghost kitchens as a “new business model that requires reflection” regarding its implementation in cities.
The Restoration Guild supports the suspension of licenses to install macrocooks in BCN. We are facing a new business model that requires reflection on the criteria for implementation in urban fabric. We have 1 year to agree on a specific regulation https://t.co/XZXNtDLshR
– Restoration Guild (@RestauracioBCN) March 26, 2021
Neighborhood associations had asked the City Council to take action against some of these ghost kitchens, although the actual number of these kitchens is unknown as there is no official record.
Some of these premises are registered for own use or rental, but in practice they would be focused on the delivery of food at home, something that would exceed the official purpose. “Grouping a large number of kitchens can generate problems of noise, odors, vibrations, loading and unloading, crowds …”, explains Sanz.
The moratorium approved last Friday consists of not granting permits related to the installation or expansion of industrial kitchens or kitchens. This regulation could be related to catering services, but the City Council has excluded those activities that are “complementary to another of those considered essential such as schools, hospitals or clinics.”
“Dark kitchens are a growth opportunity for the sector, but it is necessary that they operate under the same conditions as the rest of the hotel business, sharing their obligations and responsibilities,” the Spanish Hospitality Business Confederation (CEHE) explained to Xataka.