Local Kitchens, a new ghost kitchen concept that allows customers to order from multiple local restaurant brands, has opened in the San Francisco area with locations in Lafayette, San Jose and Cupertino, Calif.
Local Kitchens operates outposts of Curry Up Now, Glaze, Humphry Slocombe, The Little Chihuahua, MIXT, Proposition Chicken, Saucy Asian, Señor Sisig, and Wise Sons, offering both delivery and takeout from its 10,000-square-foot spaces. Unlike many ghost kitchen models, Local Kitchen operates all of its locations with its own staff, who have been trained by the individual restaurants to produce all of the menus, said Jon Goldsmith, CEO and co-founder of Local Kitchen, in an interview with Nation’s Restaurant News.
Goldsmith and his partner, Andrew Munday, who is chief operating officer, worked together at DoorDash — Goldsmith in engineering and Munday in operations — before launching Local Kitchens. Jordan Bramble, chief technology officer, is also a co-founder.
“There has been this massive shift away from bricks and mortar, and we felt like we were in a good position to help restaurants navigate that,” said Goldsmith.
With its locations in suburban communities, Local Kitchens also is providing a platform for its restaurant partners to reach customers in new markets, and to reconnect with customers who may have relocated to suburban home offices during the pandemic.
“We have heard from some longtime restaurant customers who said they are delighted to have this food just a little bit closer to home,” Goldsmith said.
The company’s multi-restaurant ordering platform — available through its website and via its onsite kiosks, but not through third-party delivery apps — help increase the concept’s appeal to families or other groups that might prefer to mix-and-match menu items from multiple concepts.
Local Kitchens is promoting its service in the local markets, and many of the restaurant brands it works with are also promoting the expanded availability of their concepts via social media or other means.
The company has “franchise-like” agreements with each of the restaurant concepts it works with to produce the dishes using the same ingredients, recipes and cooking processes as the traditional locations, Goldmsith said. The kitchens have multiple quality control points to ensure that food is produced according to standards.
“Our staff is highly engaged with the Local Kitchens team to ensure the perfect execution of our offerings,” said Ari Feingold, owner of Proposition Chicken, in a statement. “Quality and consistency are top priorities for us, and Local Kitchens seamlessly delivers on both aspects.”
Local Kitchens worked with the concepts to develop scaled-down menus of the most popular items, along with packaging optimized for delivery and takeout, the latter of which accounts for the “majority” of the volume at the locations, Goldsmith said.
The Local Kitchens model is similar to that of Ghost Kitchen Brands, which is expanding inside Walmart stores in the U.S. and Canada and also uses its own staff to produce the menus of its restaurant partners for takeout and delivery.
Staffing levels vary based on volume, but Local Kitchen typically has about eight workers at each location, each of who works assigned production stations that can support multiple brands.
Goldsmith said he plans to grow Local Kitchens with additional locations in the San Francisco Bay Area in the near term, and then to expand into new markets later this year, working with both existing and new restaurant partners.
“It’s up to each individual restaurant, and what their growth plans are for their brands,” he said. “We have some folks looking to scale up regionally or even nationally.”