Dark kitchens are expanding rapidly: Spain’s Glovo plans to launch more than 100 ghost kitchens worldwide
With the rise of delivery during the pandemic, ghost kitchens they have become an increasingly popular business. Virtual restaurants without tables or waiters; completely oriented to online sales. For years, home delivery companies have tried these premises, whose legal protection is still under discussion, but this 2021 they will receive a notable boost.
The food industry, with companies like Pescanova or Campofrío, is launching its own virtual restaurants. At the moment they are specific pilot and local tests, but globally there is a much more serious movement. Now, Spanish companies like Glovo want to try to become one of the benchmarks in home delivery of food and announce that they will notably expand their number of dark stores.
The ‘delivery’ boom increases interest in ghost kitchens
Oscar Pierre, CEO of Glovo, explains a Financial Times who plan to open up 100 new ghost kitchens during 2021, in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. An increase that is precipitated by the 450 million euros obtained during the last round of funding.
Glovo currently has ghost kitchens in Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon and Milan, but has already announced openings in other Spanish cities such as Valencia, European cities such as Rome or Porto and, as the company now points out, they will also open on other continents. In total, the goal of the Spanish company is to reach 200 ghost kitchens by the end of 2021.
“I think the same thing will happen as with the Groupons of the world and a few years ago with scooters,” says Pierre, referring to the boom that food delivery is currently experiencing but where the next few years could reach maturity and only a couple of companies per city manage to retain enough market to be viable.
This does not seem to be the current case yet, taking into account the high volume of investments in this type of company. So far this year alone, more than 8,000 million euros have been invested in startups of delivery, surpassing in just four months of 2021 the entire volume of investments made in 2020.
In addition to established startups like Deliveroo or DooDash, companies like Bring (Istanbul), goPuff (Philadelphia), Gorillas (Berlin) or Glovo (Barcelona) itself have received hundreds of millions of euros in new rounds of financing to expand their business model. One that, according to these companies themselves, is going through the rise of ghost kitchens.
Gorillas’ motto (“Faster than you”) sums up the promises of this business model and ghost kitchens well. The objective is to speed up delivery times and for couriers to arrive in less time than it would even take the user to go to the store.
To achieve it, it is necessary bring the origin of the food closer to homes and inevitably to continue improving this point it is necessary to expand the number of phantom kitchens. We will have to wait to see how the delivery sector evolves, if these dark kitchens end up establishing themselves and what type of regulation is applied to them.
A global phenomenon that, according to Euromonitor data, is led by China with more than 7,500 dark kitchens. Well above 1,500 in the US or 750 in the UK. This year, by promoting companies like Glovo, Spain also wants to be relevant in this model.