DoorDash is continuing to tinker with ghost kitchens.
Its latest effort: A delivery-centric Brooklyn food hall that offers seating and the ability to order from multiple restaurants at once.
It’s the company’s third DoorDash Kitchens location, and its first on the East Coast. The others are in Hollywood and the Bay Area. A fourth, in San Jose, is scheduled to reopen soon.
The new operation is in downtown Brooklyn, inside a larger shared kitchen facility operated by a company called Nimbus. It will offer five restaurants for delivery, pickup, or dine-in in the 20-seat cafe area—a first for DoorDash.
The roster includes three well-known New York restaurants: DOMODOMO (sushi), Kings Co Imperial (Chinese) and Pies ‘n’ Thighs (Southern); as well as Little Caesars and the Moonbowls virtual brand. Many of them are coming to Brooklyn for the first time.
Customers who order on-site will also have access to Birch Coffee, Kado Patisri and Milk Bar. And in another first, customers who choose to pick up their food will be able to order from multiple DoorDash Kitchens concepts in a single transaction using the DoorDash app.
Ghost kitchens would appear to be a natural fit for the nation’s largest delivery provider. It can use its wealth of transaction data to determine what restaurants would work well in a given location and then generate revenue by servicing them.
For operators, the kitchen offers a chance to expand their reach in a desirable market without having to open a whole new restaurant.
“We take pride in providing diners with fresh, delicious sushi whether they're dining in or ordering to-go,” said Brian Kim, executive chef and co-founder of DOMODOMO, in a statement. “Partnering with DoorDash Kitchens is enabling us to meet customer demand in Brooklyn without fully committing to a second brick-and-mortar location.”
Under the arrangement with Nimbus, DoorDash will be responsible for curating the restaurant lineup and handling delivery and pickup operations. Nimbus manages the building, including equipment and upkeep. The cooking is done by the restaurants themselves.
The bright, modern dining room distinguishes Nimbus from traditional ghost kitchens that may offer little more than a waiting area. Many ghost kitchens are starting to add some seating in an attempt to capture more guests, making them more akin to food halls.
DoorDash opened its first ghost kitchen in 2019 in Redwood City, Calif., leasing kitchen space to five restaurants and providing pickup, delivery and other support. The initial test led to two more locations, including a so-called full-service DoorDash Kitchens in San Jose, where the company handled virtually all of the operations including the cooking.
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