CHARLOTTE — Ghost kitchens are a rising niche in Charlotte’s culinary scene, as the pandemic continues to drive innovation.
That business model sees chefs working out of third-party commercial kitchen space — or virtual kitchens — shared by multiple concepts. Some ghost kitchens are carved into existing restaurants, where a new idea is tested to gain traction. National chains are testing streamlined menus in some cases, seeking to boost the bottom line.
The pandemic limited indoor dining capacity and inspired restaurant operators to get creative. Takeout and delivery are at the forefront of those moves — cutting real estate and other overhead costs.
“When you look at what constitutes a restaurant in America today, that definition is rapidly changing,” says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president for research at the National Restaurant Association.