2022 – This Ghost Kitchen Serves Up Dishes for 10 Restaurants – Try It

Have you ever wondered where the takeaway chain restaurant was cooked? There is a chance that it was not actually made in one of their restaurants, but was instead made in a “ghost kitchen”.

Takeaway Pizza.

source: from the inside

I went behind Growth Kitchen, a ghostly kitchen company in London that offers restaurant brands the space to prepare dishes and increase their delivery capacity without the expense of a full-service restaurant.

The exterior of the Ghost Kitchen's Ghost Kitchen
The exterior of the Growth Kitchen site in Balham, South London.

source: from the inside

Ghost Kitchen is located in an industrial area of ​​residential London – not where you’d expect orders. Since they do not directly serve customers, ghost kitchens can be located far from the main streets in areas with lower rents and less floor space.

The exterior of the Ghost Kitchen's Ghost Kitchen
The commercial area where Belham Growth Kitchen is located.

The exterior of the building is largely nondescript. I arrived at 2:30 in the afternoon, just after lunchtime, even though there were two bikes parked outside.

The exterior of the Ghost Kitchen's Ghost Kitchen
The exterior of the Growth Kitchen site in Balham, London.

Delivery drivers taking orders enter through the front door which contains a list of all the restaurant brands that have kitchens there.

The exterior of Growth Kitchen .'s ghost kitchen
The exterior of the Growth Kitchen site in Balham, London.

Inside, passengers can sit while waiting for orders, as well as access to restrooms, phone chargers, and a water fountain. Groth Kitchen told Insider that driver well-being is important to the company.

Inside the Ghost Kitchen at Growth Kitchen
Delivery driver at the Growth Kitchen location in Balham, South London.

The building consists of two main corridors…

Inside the Ghost Kitchen at Growth Kitchen
The layout of the Growth Kitchen site in Balham, South London.

… with small windows for each brand. If you look inside, you can look at the individual kitchen spaces.

Inside the Ghost Kitchen at Growth Kitchen
A collection window for delivery drivers to collect orders at the Growth Kitchen location in Balham, London.

Floor plans vary in kitchens. The company’s founders told Insider that the kitchens are tailored to the needs of each brand.

Inside the Ghost Kitchen at Growth Kitchen
A collection window for delivery drivers to collect orders at the Growth Kitchen location in Balham, south London.

While some other Ghost establishments have brands that share kitchens and even employees, Growth Kitchen has one for each store with employees assigned directly from the chains. Co-founder Mateh Kuhn told Insider that communal kitchens “are not the future.”

Inside the Ghost Kitchen at Growth Kitchen
Design of a kitchen at the Growth Kitchen site in Balham, South London.

Co-founder Tom Gatz said brands want to control their reputation and reduce risk by owning their own kitchens and employees. Since kitchens cater to each brand, having multiple employees working at one facility would spoil the flow, he said.

Inside the Ghost Kitchen at Growth Kitchen
A collection window for delivery drivers to collect orders at the Growth Kitchen location in Balham, London.

Gatz and Kuhn said operating ghost kitchens allows workers to focus on the quality and speed of orders without worrying about customer service. The company says that setting up a kitchen in one of its centers is much cheaper and faster than a brick restaurant.

Inside the Ghost Kitchen at Growth Kitchen
A collection window for delivery drivers to collect orders at the Growth Kitchen location in Balham, London.

In total, there are 10 Growth Kitchen Hub brands I visit that Gatz and Kun say collect at least 800 orders a day.

Inside the Ghost Kitchen at Growth Kitchen
A collection window for delivery drivers to collect orders at the Growth Kitchen location in Balham, London.

Gatz and Kohn said there are criteria brands must meet before they can secure a place in the kitchen, such as a five-star food hygiene rating and a commitment to sustainability, including packaging made from recycled materials.

Inside the Ghost Kitchen at Growth Kitchen
A sign with a five-star rating for food hygiene at the Growth Kitchen location in Balham, south London.

All brands are different, preparing cuisines that range from Greek and Thai to Mexican and pizza. Growth Kitchen says that means they don’t compete directly with each other.

Inside the Ghost Kitchen at Growth Kitchen
Many of the brands are manufactured at the Growth Kitchen site in Balham, London.

Brands can set up orders for all of the delivery apps on the site, with the top three delivery apps being Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat, but Kohn said Growth Kitchen is encouraging restaurants to use private delivery channels to collect customer data instead.

The exterior of the Ghost Kitchen's Ghost Kitchen
The exterior of the Growth Kitchen site in Balham, London.

In exchange for kitchen space and access to Growth Kitchen’s resources and data, brands can pay a flat fee and sales commission or just a commission, according to Gatz and Kun, “depending on the needs of our restaurant brands and the nature of their business.”

Growth Kitchen founders Tom Gates and Mate Conn standing in the kitchen
Growth Kitchen founders Tom Gatz and Mattie Cohn.

In addition to the Balham location I visited, Growth Kitchen has another location in Bermondsey, each with 10 stores. Growth Kitchen plans to open 40 new locations over the next two years, including some outside London, and announced £3 million ($3.75 million) in seed funding in April.

Inside the Ghost Kitchen at Growth Kitchen
Site plan of Growth Kitchen in Balham, London.