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How ghost kitchens and virtual brands could change the restaurant industry

A Deeper Dive: Former Red Robin CEO Denny Marie Post discusses how these mega trends could change restaurants for years to come.

Virtual brands and ghost kitchens have been hugely popular since the outset of the pandemic. But just how big will they be?

This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Denny Marie Post, the former Red Robin CEO who is now an advisor to the virtual brand operator Nextbite, among other roles.

Perhaps no trend has taken off in the past year or two quite like the emergence of ghost kitchens and virtual brands. For context, a ghost kitchen, or dark kitchen, is generally a kitchen for delivery and takeout only and hosts one or more brands. A virtual brand is a brand that operates for delivery and takeout only and can be housed in existing restaurants or ghost kitchens or elsewhere.

Post was the CEO of Red Robin when it first began integrating Donatos Pizza as a virtual brand inside its restaurants. She brings insight into the virtual brand and ghost kitchen trends given her past work with ghost kitchen company Reef as well as Nextbite. She discusses how these trends promise to reshape the industry long after the pandemic is over.

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