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DoorDash is going bigger with ghost kitchens as it introduces DoorDash Kitchens Full Service, a new model allowing restaurants to license their brands and outsource many of the tasks associated with opening a new location, including hiring, meal preparation and ingredient sourcing.

The largest food delivery provider in the United States said this new format gives businesses the ability to expand without the operational and economic investment of opening a brick-and-mortar store. This comes as many restaurants are looking for creative ways to expand after a year and a half of turmoil caused by the pandemic and widespread labor shortages, following several years of upheaval caused by the rise of delivery, ghost kitchens and virtual restaurants. It is debuting this new model out of its ghost kitchen facilities in San Jose and Redwood City, California. 

“We’ve witnessed, especially over the past year, the power that delivery-only models and kitchens can have in helping local partners succeed as off-premises operations become an important part of their business,” the company said in a press release. 

DoorDash first launched the DoorDash Kitchens program in 2019, with the goal of helping restaurant partners expand their geographic footprint in new markets and reach new customers with lower overhead costs. Since then, the company said it has learned many restaurants need more than just help with upfront real estate costs, and are “looking for even less expensive and operationally intensive options to expand.”

The company added that outsourcing operations of a delivery-only facility could free up capacity for dine-in orders as the world reopens. Others want to test a new geography with minimal risk, and others just want more hands-on support for a location as they grow their business.

 Here’s how it works: 

Hiring: Depending on the facility, DoorDash either hires cooks or partners with a culinary operator, such as A La Couch to staff the facility. DoorDash also hires managers for each of its facilities and front of house staff to supervise the delivery and pickup orders. 

Training: Each restaurant will be actively engaged in determining the optimum menu for each location, including coordinating training sessions to ensure kitchen staff are creating high-quality food expected of a brick and mortar. Partners will also provide a list of ingredients and preferred sourcers to ensure consistency with other stores’ menus. Over the course of a few weeks, everything from plating to packaging to cooking takes place together—with several tastings in between, of course.  

Operating: DoorDash will run the day-to-day operations of the facility. Restaurant partners will receive a portion of the revenue in return, all without much day-to-day responsibility, in turn creating a light-touch growth opportunity. Where it makes sense, some partners may choose to sell their products wholesale to DoorDash. 

More information about DoorDash Kitchens, its Redwood City location and the Full Service partnership model is available at doordash.news.

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