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Inside a Ghost kitchen: Trends change very quickly

By: Reading Time: 3 Minutes
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Food delivery means eating what you want, wherever and whenever you want it. It’s a huge market already, and these days, it’s practically exploding. One fairly cool new resulting development: ghost kitchens. They churn out food without having a connected restaurant – giving them an efficiency that’s nothing short of astonishing. Keatz, an international start-up, is among the most interesting ghost kitchen concepts out there. We met up with their culinary director, Adrian Poon.

So, Adrian, “Keatz” sounds a lot like “Kiez” – German for “neighborhood”.

Right, exactly! It’s supposed to. We have ghost kitchens in a lot of neighborhoods around Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands. They’re not conventional restaurants – all we do is delivery. People are calling it the third wave of food delivery. We have a few different virtual restaurant brands, and all the food is prepared in the same kitchen – top quality food, specially tailored for delivery needs. GreenGurus, GringoBurritos, TamakaBowls, you name it. Way better than just throwing a pizza in a carton and driving it out. Ghost kitchens allow us to respond to new trends quickly and realize new food concepts without a lot of hassle. It’s way easier than, say, converting a Chinese restaurant into a Turkish place.

Dark kitchen for food delivery

Image: Keatz

That’s all pretty anonymous, though, isn’t it?

Yeah. We don’t have a convenient way to tell the stories behind our products, in terms of quality or origin. Right now, we’re working on changing our brand orientation: we want the local Keatz to be the best food delivery service in the neighborhood, whether it’s in Germany or Spain or Amsterdam.. It’s going to be a challenge since we don’t have brick-and-mortar restaurants in the area, but we have a bunch of great ideas in the pipeline!

Food delivery means disposable packaging and other waste. What are you guys doing about that?

We’re working on sustainable packaging materials and cutlery, and our goal is to have a completely paperless kitchen up and running in the next twelve months. We also use foodsharing concepts like Tafel for our extra food, and we only use raw materials that we can incorporate into all of our brands.

Dark Kitchen Keatz

Image: Keatz

Where do you guys get your recipes and ideas?

I take care of the overarching concepts – I have more than 13 years of international experience in the restaurant industry. Developing recipes for three different countries with three different sets of guest expectation is a real challenge! Eating habits in Germany versus Spain, for example, are like night and day. So traveling, eating, and studying different food markets is very important, and I do it as often as I can. But we also always have an eye on sustainability – and making sure everything is specially tailored to delivery. Our chefs check each recipe to make sure it works in practice. We’re always testing new brands, which helps us get feedback. Each country has its own dining culture, and trends change very quickly.

You use state-of-the-art Rational technology in your kitchens. How does that help?

We only cook with Rational combi-steamers in our kitchens. We use the ConnectedCooking to manage cooking times, temperatures, and food consistency remotely, so that our staff – many of whom are inexperienced – don’t need to learn to operate the appliances themselves. The temperatures on our sous-vide units are controlled externally as well. In the future, we plan to extend that digitization to include refrigeration, so we can regulate and monitor that in accordance with HACCP requirements. All of that makes our kitchens really flexible – a lot more flexible than conventional restaurant kitchens. And we’re always investing in expanding our range of options!

Inside a ghost kitchen food delivery

Image: Keatz

Are you planning on expanding the business as well?

At the moment we have six kitchens – three in Berlin (in Kreuzberg, Mitte, and Friedrichshain), plus one each in Munich, Madrid, and Barcelona – and we offer 84 different dishes. We’re planning on expanding into the megamarkets of France and the UK next. I obviously can’t reveal too much about that yet, so all I’ll say is this: our goal is to offer the best delivery food in every major European city. And soon!

Further Resources:
Trend Talk: All about Ghost Kitchens.

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