DoorDash opens a ghost kitchen

The delivery service opened its first DoorDash Kitchens to provide pickup and delivery meals for four brick-and-mortar operations in Northern California.
Photograph courtesy of DoorDash

DoorDash is opening a so-called ghost kitchen in Northern California to fulfill off-premise orders for four restaurant partners, a first for the delivery service.

The shared commissary, DoorDash Kitchens, will produce meals for pickup as well as delivery and catering. DoorDash says the kitchens inside were co-designed with the four restaurant operations: The Halal Guys, Nation’s Giant Hamburgers, Rooster & Rice and Humphry Slocombe. The kitchen are separated from one another and staffed with the concepts' own employees. 

DoorDash footed the total capital expenditure and handled all permitting. In exchange, it collects a portion of revenues and a monthly rent that's below the rates typical of the area, said Faud Hannon, DoorDash's head of new business verticals. The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the highest-priced real estate markets in the country. 

DoorDash will provide delivery of meals from the Redwood City facility to seven markets in the Bay Area, where the four participating brands do not have brick-and-mortar restaurants. The arrangement in effect opens those market areas to them.  

Consumers can also place takeout orders for pickup at the facility. An interior area serves as the handoff spot. 

“It helps us test out demand in new markets, reaching new customers and areas quickly,” Rooster & Rice CFO Min Park said in a statement.

DoorDash maintains the facility and handles the logistics of getting delivery orders to customers.

Pictures of the building show a streetside storefront with obscured picture windows and a few tables and chairs outside.

Restaurant operators are increasingly turning to ghost kitchens—commissary-like production facilities lacking seats and usually a retail-like exterior—to meet the boom in demand for takeout and delivery. The Wendy’s burger chain told investors Friday that ghost kitchens will figure into the concept’s development plans. Brands ranging from Sweetgreen to Chick-fil-A are already trying the facilities.

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