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07/30/2021

DoorDash moves from ghost kitchens to ghost restaurants

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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The new DoorDash Kitchens Full Service offering provides fast-food retailers with a hosted storefront.

Following the launch of its DoorDash Kitchens kitchen service in 2019, the on-demand delivery platform is piloting a new expanded partnership version called DoorDash Kitchens Full Service. 

With the service, DoorDash takes on many of the tasks associated with opening and operating a storefront such as hiring, meal prep, procuring equipment, and sourcing ingredients. According to the company, DoorDash Kitchens Full Service is designed for small fast-food and quick-service retailers that want to expand in or test new markets without having to invest in the usual overhead that would be required.

Depending on the facility, DoorDash either hires cooks or partners with a culinary operator to oversee staffing. DoorDash also hires managers for each of facility, as well as front-of-house staff to supervise delivery and pickup orders. Facilities provide delivery and pickup services for multiple restaurants.

Each participating restaurant is actively engaged in determining the optimum menu for each location, and takes part in training sessions. Partners also provide a list of ingredients and preferred sourcers to ensure consistency with other stores’ menus. Over the course of a few weeks, everything from plating to packaging to cooking takes place together, with several tastings.

DoorDash manages the day-to-day operations of the facility, with restaurant partners receiving a portion of the revenue in return. Where it makes sense, some partners may choose to sell their products wholesale to DoorDash.

DoorDash has established a culinary team to support the service, led by chef Carl Bertka, former head of culinary development at Ruby Tuesday and former pastry chef at Gordon Ramsay at the London. The culinary team has a mix of fine dining, casual dining, corporate foodservice, and catering experience.

“Our San Francisco-homegrown brand has been serving up delicious Korean comfort food for almost 10 years, and we have been so honored by the reception in our city — now I want to see if our concept is liked in other cities,” said Charlie Kim, owner of DoorDash Kitchens Full Service partner Aria Korean Street Food. “San Francisco has high rent, and it’s hard for a small business to add more locations. We’ve experimented with other delivery-only operations but it was operationally burdensome to produce a quality of food we hold ourselves to and market the new location. With this new partnership, DoorDash Kitchens helped out with operations, data, and marketing power saving us the time and money. We’ve been excited by the early reception in the community.”

Currently DoorDash is operating this model out of a new DoorDash Kitchens facility in San Jose, and for certain brands in its Redwood City, Calif. DoorDash Kitchens location.