RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond’s newest food hall will open on Wednesday, but you probably won’t be able to try the food there without placing an order on your phone.
The company, ChefSuite, is what is known as a “ghost kitchen.” According to ghost kitchen brand Cloud Kitchens, these types of businesses are often opened in an area with plenty of delivery demand, and only exist virtually. While someone can order food from the menu on a delivery app like Uber Eats, Grub Hub and Door Dash, a ghost kitchen does not have a storefront where they can physically go to eat. A small staff works in the kitchen to prepare food for delivery customers, cutting down costs on both staffing and a brick-and-mortar location.
Food publication Eater states that while the idea existed prior to 2020, ghost kitchens became far more popular after the COVID-19 pandemic increased the demand for food delivery.
ChefSuite consists of 16 private kitchen suites, which can be rented by businesses to prepare food for delivery orders. According to their website, ChefSuite is intended to support a variety of businesses, from first-time restaurant owners to nationwide fast-food chains.
The company claims that participating businesses can benefit from minimal staffing, a “food-to-go” focus and discounted vendor pricing.
The suites in Richmond, which open on Wednesday, March 15, will be ChefSuite’s first location. On its website, the company lists a second location in Atlanta that is planned to open next year.