The Evolution of Ghost Kitchens: From $1 Trillion Hype to Struggling Business Model

Food delivery remains a thriving industry in 2024, yet there’s one trend that hasn’t kept pace: ghost kitchens.

Once hailed as a pandemic success story, attracting over $3 billion in venture funding, the ghost kitchen sector is struggling to meet its ambitious projections.

Euromonitor International had forecasted a potential $1 trillion market size for ghost kitchens by 2030, luring major brands like Wendy’s, Ruby Tuesday, TGI Fridays, and Wingstop into the fold.

However, Evert Gruyaert, restaurant food, and service leader at Deloitte, remarks, “It is clear that the impact of ghost kitchens was overestimated,” noting the current decline in their presence.

Ghost kitchens falter as consumer dissatisfaction rises
Ghost kitchens falter as consumer dissatisfaction rises, prompting a resurgence in traditional dining establishments. (Credits: Wire Image)

Consumer dissatisfaction with the opaque nature of ghost kitchens, coupled with the closure of thousands of virtual kitchens by food delivery apps, led to a resurgence in traditional brick-and-mortar dining establishments.

This shift prompted investors to withdraw support, resulting in widespread closures of ghost kitchens.

Now, surviving businesses within the industry are adapting to a new model for sustainability. Some are looking to diversify beyond delivery, exploring opportunities in events and catering.

Ghost Kitchen
Nimbus Kitchen pioneers a new model, emphasizing shared infrastructure for diverse culinary ventures.

Nimbus Kitchen, a New York City-based co-cooking space, exemplifies this approach, aiming to rebrand the concept away from the negative associations of ghost kitchens.

Camilla Opperman, co-founder of Nimbus Kitchen, asserts, “Shared kitchens and co-cooking infrastructure like Nimbus are here to stay,” emphasizing a vision that encompasses not only delivery concepts but also a variety of food businesses requiring kitchen space to legally serve consumers.

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x