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Dark kitchens: a euphemism?

Wednesday, 12 July 2023
Newsletter food

A euphemism is used to tell an unpleasant truth. Dark kitchens, also known as ghost kitchens or virtual kitchens, are a rising trend in the food industry. These ‘delivery-only establishments’ operate out of a central commercial kitchen space, often without a storefront or dining area, where 100% of the food assembled is delivered. China, India and Japan are among the countries with the most ghost kitchens on the planet. The model was quickly exported to the US and Europe.

There are concerns and challenges associated with dark kitchens. We believe this emerging practice can impact consumers, neighbouring communities as well as traditional food business operators and restaurants. One of the biggest challenges is to ensure health and food safety, quality control and consistency across multiple delivery platforms. Evidence shows that hidden kitchens create noise and pollution from vehicles delivering food to clients potentially affecting local residents.

We believe hidden kitchen environments could foster undeclared work, weakened social protection and an unhealthy working environment. Last but not least, opportunities for staff when food is often only assembled and not cooked with passion can be significantly affected.