The Ghost Kitchen That Cooks Food For More Than 100 Restaurants

Ghost kitchens are increasingly becoming the norm, with more and more brands choosing to prepare food in existing restaurant kitchens. These brands allow customers to order food via popular delivery apps such as DoorDash and Grubhub, but they don't offer in-person dining experiences. Per The Conversation, there are even setups that include several ghost kitchens "with multiple restaurants or brands working out of the same physical space."

The COVID-19 pandemic has played a role in contributing to ghost kitchens' success, too. After lockdown restrictions were announced across the world, many restaurants relied on food delivery services to stay afloat. Ghost kitchens helped small businesses survive during turbulent times and cater to their customers' needs. That said, big-name chain restaurant brands, such as Applebee's, also embraced the trend and were able to experiment with new dishes under other brand names.

According to CNN, a Dubai-based ghost kitchen called Kitopi has found recent success. Its staff members cook meals for more than 100 restaurants in the Middle East, and well-established companies such as Pizza Express have collaborated with the brand.

Ghost kitchens aren't slowing down

According to Kitopi's website, the brand officially launched in January 2018 and aims to work with food brands across the globe. The company states that it handles everything from "sourcing of ingredients and cooking with care to packaging and safe delivery." Kitopi founder Saman Darkan told CNN in December 2021, "When a brand joins us, they give us their recipes, they train us on how to cook their foods and then we do the end-to-end operation."

After companies pay the ghost kitchen company an initial fee, Kitopi receives "part of their revenues and pays them a royalty fee in return." Additionally, every city has a base where most of the dishes are prepared, and the "finishing touches" take place at other satellite kitchens that are closer to residential colonies. 

The company now has more than 1,000 team members and provides more than 200,000 meals to its partners every week. It has managed to raise an impressive amount ($80 million, to be exact) in funding since its inception. Despite pandemic-induced challenges, Kitopi has managed to survive and has even experimented with other food business options, such as an online grocery store in Dubai. According to Darkan, it helps that customers are now more open to the idea of home food delivery. "Delivery was already on the growth trajectory, then COVID-19 happened and it saw a blip, and then you started seeing it go back up," he explained to CNN. Whatever Kitopi is doing, it's working.