Could 'ghost kitchens' be the future of the restaurant industry?

Ghost kitchens focus on food engineered to travel
Posted at 5:53 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 17:53:30-04

TAMPA, Fla. — To-go orders and delivery are now the new normal for restaurants across the country and Tampa Bay. The owner of a newly launched restaurant venture, Quality Delivered, focuses entirely on their delivery game with a new ghost kitchen concept.

The concept of ghost kitchens aren't new, but the business model during the pandemic is quickly catching on.

"You look at us as a restaurant, full kitchen, just no dining room," Joe Murgio, the CEO of DeliverLogic, said. "The order comes in everything is connected with the technology using Activemenus. So, the order hits us goes right to our point of sale, hits a driver, a driver comes and picks it up delivers it to the consumer."

Murgio has three different brands operating in the kitchen of Quality Delivered, QD Chick, Cluck'N QD, and QD burger.

"So, the focus instead of being on the attention to detail in the dining room and service is really on the consumer either coming in and grabbing that food or a driver bringing it to them and enjoying that experience as much as possible," Murgio said. "The idea is you are maximizing that space really focused on recipes that can travel well, packaging that is sustainable and keeps the food as fresh as possible, and just little things like no hot food goes with cold food."

DeliverLogic is the company's software side that powers the delivery service empire Murgio is working to build. The restaurant Quality Delivered uses the ActiveMenus software to make ordering a meal for delivery or to-go just as streamlined and easy to use as a 3rd party service.

The difference is that the restaurants are not paying a percentage fee on every order. For example, UberEats charges restaurants 30% when a customer orders through their app.

Joe Dodd, the owner of King of the Coop in Seminole Heights, tells ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska their fees for Uber Eats skyrocketed during the pandemic.

"We've taken a look at our numbers and seen that Uber Eats is around 40% of our business, and they take 30% of that 40% in sales that we do they take that," Dodd said. "As a customer, you are paying Uber. You don't pay the restaurant, so Uber pays us so automatically they take out their portion. Since January, we've paid $50,000 in fees to Uber."

Murgio says fees can sink a new restaurant even in the best of times.

"It is a lose, lose for the restaurant they pay a commission they push the consumer away from their own site and in this case they are losing that data as well for future orders," Murgio said.

The future for delivery continues to expand, and Murgio says local companies can sell their product without paying hefty fees. He plans to get more restaurants using his software, create a network of independent drivers, and help share resources for restaurants to pool resources and work together to stay profitable.

"I'm all about synergy," Murgio said. "We are building a truly independent network of drivers that can execute those orders."