Ghost Kitchens Heat Up

A NACS survey shows that ghost kitchens are likely to be more common in the future.

March 13, 2023

ALEXANDRIA, Va.— The appeal of ghost kitchens grew early in the COVID-19 pandemic when food delivery services became a necessity. Nearly three years later, do convenience retailers still view ghost kitchens as a viable option for enhancing foodservice? NACS survey results and convenience retailer investment in ghost kitchens suggest the answer is yes. A ghost kitchen is roughly defined as a physical space for foodservice providers to create prepared food for off-premise consumption, usually via delivery.

The October 2022 NACS Foodservice Growth Drivers survey indicates that the number of retailers planning to partner with a ghost kitchen in the next two years (25.4%) is nearly double the number that have worked with a ghost kitchen in the past (13.6%). Circle K parent Alimentation Couche-Tard, for example, in July 2022 invested in Kitchen United, a growing ghost kitchen servicer and restaurant hub technology company.

Although nearly one-third of participating retailers are unsure whether their company will collaborate with a ghost kitchen in the near future, nearly one-quarter of respondents show interest in a ghost kitchen partnership. Only 22.0% of respondents consider ghost kitchens to be too complex for their business to implement and manage, while 55.9% believe ghost kitchens have the potential to increase their business’ profitability. Convenience retailers continue to see potential from ghost kitchen partnerships, and future interest does not appear to be waning. 

Download a copy of the complimentary NACS report “Enhancing the Foodservice Offer.”