Americans love The Cheesecake Factory. The restaurant known for its massive 21-page menu, dozens of dessert options and ancient Egypt-inspired decor was ranked as one of the top casual dining restaurants in the U.S. in 2019. But the eatery popular with everyone from NBA stars to cheesecake aficionados has fallen on hard times as the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the restaurant industry. In October, The Cheesecake Factory reported third-quarter sales fell by 12% and same-stores sales were down 23% from a year earlier. So after 40 years in business will The Cheesecake Factory be able to regain its momentum and will the chain’s takeout and delivery service be enough to offset the decline of the dine-in restaurant experience?
As the oldest café in Italy—and the world, in fact—Caffè Florian recently celebrated its 300th anniversary on December 29 with no fanfare. It was a far cry from the 290th celebration in 2010, with cakes, an enormous party, and a live concert. The café famed for its celebrity clientele—from Charles Dickens to Andy Warhol—now faces closure since the pandemic has taken a toll on tourism.
The café was opened in San Marco Square in 1720 by Italian entrepreneur Floriano Francesconi (locals knew it as Floriano’s). It has been a gathering place for locals, a place to woo tourists, and a hot spot for A-listers for hundreds of years.
In 1895, the idea of the Venice Biennale was born here, to pay homage to King Umberto and Queen Margherita, and scenes from Hollywood films have been shot here, such as The Talented Mr. Ripley (starring Matt Damon) nd Summertime (starring Katharine Hepburn). Marcel Proust and Charles Dickens were frequent visitors, as well as Friedrich Nietzsche, Casanova, and Charlie Chaplin. Ernest Hemingway would sit out on the patio drinking coffee in the sun, while Claude Monet charmed the pigeons into standing on his head in the same spot.
Ghost kitchens are kitchens designed for delivery-only businesses, without dine-in areas or customer facing storefronts. The pandemic has ravaged dine-in eateries, and companies that have focused on delivery could come out on top if the current trends continue. Watch the full video to see why ghost kitchens are taking over the restaurant industry.
Here are some of the top Ghost Kitchens:
With a $10 million dollar investment from Google Ventures, Kitchen United has been one of the leanest (and fastest-growing) startups in the space. Founder Jim Collins has turned down hundreds of millions of investment dollars to focus on growing more organically. Currently, Kitchen United plans on conquering the global restaurant space — with 5,000 kitchens planned in the next four years.
All in all, Kitchen United offers a turn-key, light-capital model, delivering a complete, code-safe kitchen replete with appliances and cooking implements. All that’s left to do is to…cook.
The fastest-growing and most investor-friendly ghost kitchen startup, CloudKitchens, has already taken in over $400 million from investors. $150 million interestingly invested by its founder (former Uber superstar) Travis Kalanick. Like Kitchen United, CloudKitchens offers fully-equipped kitchens (branded as “smart kitchens”) for the delivery-only model. Honestly, you can’t ignore a project that Travis is a part of.
Another not-so-surprising entry into the ghost kitchen space is DoorDash, which has already premiered locations in San Francisco and Redwood City. Currently, DoorDash’s model is focused on catering to high-delivery areas for established brands like Chic-Fil-A, but we’re sure they have plans in the works for new locations, as well.
For the time being, DoorDash Kitchens is still in the experimentation phase, with only a few locations. And, like others on this list, it provides everything a restauranteur would need for a single monthly fee.
For the moment, we’ll set aside the possible conflicts associated with Uber’s ex co-founder Travis Kalanick — who’s also operating CloudKitchens. We’re sure that bridge will need crossing at some point if Uber expands its operations. For the time being, the ridesharing company has been keeping a low profile in the ghost kitchen space. To date, it has been testing ghost kitchens in a few markets, though it remains curiously reluctant to share the delicious details pertaining to its Paris operations.
Virtual Kitchen Co.
Another new entry is Virtual Kitchen Co. — which already operates several successful ghost kitchens. They plan to open 15 more kitchens over the next few years, driven by $15 million dollar Series A. Again, Virtual Kitchen Co. offers a similar pricing structure: Restaurants can pay a monthly fee for everything.
The one small difference here is that Virtual Kitchen Co. seems to be targeting existing restaurants that want to enter the delivery space.
We list the most iconic restaurant in every state. Each place earns its title based on its history, fan base, and popularity.
We were a website, and now we’re a cookbook. We’re a project by illustrators and designers to help raise money for New York restaurants and their employees. We’re 38 recipes from 38 restaurants for you to cook at home. And we’re a $20 donation for every book sold to New York City restaurants, through ROAR’s employee relief fund.
The MICHELIN Guide takes you to Malta to discover the treasures of the island: its chefs, its products and producers. Following the launch of the first MICHELIN Guide Malta in February 2020, we take a closer look at Noni, One-Star restaurant, and its chef, Jonathan Brincat. At the crossroads of cultures, the Maltese gastronomic scene is a reflection of its rich past which marries culinary influences from Italy, Mediterranean countries, North Africa, and Great Britain – not to mention contemporary trends.
At Noni, Chef-Owner Brincat passionately brings a modern approach to traditional Maltese and Mediterranean cuisine. The attentive staff are happy to make recommendations from the concise menu, showcasing quality seasonal products in well-balanced dishes, all cooked with an eye for detail.
When you think of free breadsticks, unlimited salad, and pounds of pasta one name comes to mind — Olive Garden. But the Italian eatery, known for its $5 take home meal, has fallen on hard times as the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the restaurant industry. In response, the casual dining chain trimmed its menu, pivoted to take out, and cut costs. But are those changes enough for Olive Garden to survive the pandemic and offset the overall decline of the dine-in restaurant experience?
Even before coronavirus, soaring fish prices and competition from big chains had wiped out more than half of Japan’s traditional sushi restaurants. With most owners at or near retirement, the pandemic is accelerating the demise of neighborhood sushi. Correspondent Lucy Craft looks at how fast-food sushi is remaking a dining tradition.
Insider’s Herrine Ro and Emily Christian visit three popular omakase restaurants in New York City to find the best one. They visit Sushi Katsuei, Sushi by M, and Sushi Lab.
The oldest continuously-running Chinese restaurant in the United States, the Pekin Noodle Parlor, has been feeding customers in Butte, Montana, since 1911. Correspondent Luke Burbank visits the multi-generational family business and takes a step into culinary history.