Wendy's Planned Ghost Kitchen Expansion Has Taken A Major Turn

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing food deliveries to skyrocket, many of our favorite chains have been turning to ghost kitchens to fulfill orders. According to Eater, a ghost kitchen is essentially any designated brick-and-mortar that prepares orders for delivery-only brands. Some ghost kitchens serve several brands, while others are strictly owned by a single brand.

In 2021, Wendy's announced plans to open as many as 700 ghost kitchens over the next few years. You might be wondering why Wendy's is opening so many ghost kitchens, and the answer seems simple. With delivery orders increasing, it only makes sense to open operations solely dedicated to fulfilling those orders.

However, as Wendy's recently discovered, opening several hundred ghost kitchens isn't as straightforward as you would think. In fact, the chain has announced that it is rethinking its expansion — even going so far as to scale back on the number of ghost kitchens it operates. But why the change of plans? 

Wendy's scales back its ghost kitchen plans

After announcing a lofty goal of 700 ghost kitchens in 2021, Wendy's has since pulled back. According to Restaurant Business, Wendy's now plans to open between 100 and 150 ghost kitchens, and intends to close a few of the ghost kitchens it has already opened.

Although ghost kitchens might be the future of restaurant dining, Wendy's ghost kitchens have not been performing as well as expected. Per Restaurant Dive, Wendy's partner, REEF, stated, "When deploying our multi-brand model we have seen the average sales per vessel double over the last year." Despite REEF's recommendation, Wendy's decided against sharing its ghost kitchens with other brands.

Instead, Wendy's will open fewer ghost kitchens, close locations that aren't performing up to standards, and focus its expansion in areas where sales are more successful, namely in Canada and the U.K. (via Nation's Restaurant News). Don't worry, though, you'll still be able to have Wendy's most popular menu items delivered to your house.