Some Restaurants Use Ghost Kitchens Amid Boom In Online Orders, Investigation Finds
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more Americans are getting their favorite foods delivered via Uber Eats and other delivery app services. And it turns out a growing number of restaurants are using what are called ghost kitchens.
An estimated 60% of Americans order a meal for delivery each week. But who is really making these meals?
These days, there is a chance that the meal might be coming from a ghost kitchen. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more Americans are getting their favorite foods delivered via Uber Eats.
And it turns out a growing number of restaurants are using what are called ghost kitchens.
To find out how it works, Inside Edition's Les Trent started ordering food online. A lot of food.
First up, a delicious sub from Jersey Mike's, a national chain with over 2,000 locations.
The food that arrived tasted like it was made by Jersey Mike's at one of their trademark delis, but the address on the Uber Eats receipt showed something different.
A quick trip to the address on the receipt showed that it was made a ghost kitchen called Kitchen United.
"They're not having a storefront where they have to have waiters and waitresses they have to worry about, having counter people," Asst. Health Commissioner of Westchester County Peter DeLucia tells Inside Edition. "They're just using their kitchen. And they're using their kitchen to prepare a lot of different types of name brand food."
Next up? Conviction Chicken.
When the food arrived, it became clear they were not from an actual restaurant called Conviction Chicken. In fact, the packaging showed the wings ordered had come from a TGI Fridays.
A quick trip to the address listed for Conviction Chicken confirmed that it was in fact a TGI Fridays.
So what is the best way to know who is making the meals being ordered? DeLucia says be proactive and take the extra time to do a little research by paying a visit to the establishment at least once.
Also note that just because a ghost kitchen made the meal, it does not mean that it is not authentic. Kitchen United tells Inside Edition that a Jersey Mike's staff member made the sub received, explaining that the company rents out space in their kitchen to multiple restaurants.
This helps companies operate at a much lower cost than a standalone store or brick and mortar location, Kitchen United says.
"Jersey Mike's is a great restaurant member for Kitchen United. The sub you ordered did in fact come from a Jersey Mike's store, just one that is located inside a Kitchen United Mix center," a spokesperson for Kitchen United tells Inside Edition. "Jersey Mike's leases one of our kitchens, but they fully staff and prepare their food as they would at any of their other locations. There is nothing hidden about Kitchen United or our restaurant members. We offer prime real estate options to allow restaurants to lease kitchen space for much lower operating costs than a standalone brick and mortar location."
Uber Eats, Jersey Mike’s and TGI Fridays did not return our multiple requests for comment.
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