Miami-based technology company, REEF, has launched an initiative dubbed “Calling All Restaurants,” which gives local chefs and restaurants a “ghost kitchen” space to cook in during the coronavirus crisis.
Reef is best known in the restaurant world for its large network of these ghost kitchens, aka delivery-only restaurants with cuisine made out of the kitchens that are housed in trailer “restaurants” on parking lots Reef owns around the country.
With its latest program, Reef plans to handle and cover the costs for the restaurants that participate including the actual ghost kitchen to cook in, management of delivery platforms, hiring and training of staff, customer service, marketing and public relations, inventory management, rent and facilities management, and more — meaning no upfront capital from the restaurant or chef is required.
Restaurants and chefs who want to be considered for the ghost kitchen are encouraged to apply through this website. Reps for Reef tell Eater Miami that the company will then speak with the restaurant to review and work with them on their strategy, develop a delivery-only menu, and then help them launch in a “matter of weeks.” Once up and running, the eatery and Reef agree on a revenue share based on factors like volume, number of locations, menu, and so forth, similar in setup to a licensing deal.
“Restaurants have already swiftly pivoted to offering takeout or delivery in an effort to keep their doors open – and not all were equipped to make this switch on a dime,” says Alan Phillips, Reef’s chief creative officer. “Our call to restaurants is this: you show up with your idea and brand, and we’ll do the rest.”
There isn’t a time limit to the restaurant’s being on the platform, and Reef is hoping that if the outpost does well in Miami, it can expand them through the network of about 5,000 parking lots and garages throughout North America that can be used as ghost kitchen locations.
One local restaurant who will be joining this initiative is the Genuine Hospitality Group, which is chef Michael Schwartz’s large portfolio of restaurants including Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink and several others.
“Beyond COVID-19, and what has happened in the last two months, delivery was clearly was something you were going to embrace or get left behind on,” notes Sunil Bhatt, managing partner and CEO of The Genuine Hospitality Group. “Reef is strategically consistent with what we were already thinking about and they have the credibility, the funding, and they are local. We’re excited about, it will be a really cool way for us to extend our brand without the much risk.”
Reef has made headlines in recent weeks as the company credited for bringing delivery of David Chang’s popular fried chicken restaurant Fuku quietly to Miami, Portland, and Brooklyn. Right now Reef Technologies has 16 physical ghost kitchens around Miami, and are aiming to double that figure in the next 90 days in neighborhoods like Brickell, Miami Beach, Wynwood, North Miami, and Aventura.
The initiative has launched in Miami and is looking to launch in other markets including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago in the near future.
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Disclosure: David Chang is producing shows for Hulu in partnership with Vox Media Studios, part of Eater’s parent company, Vox Media. No Eater staff member is involved in the production of those shows, and this does not impact coverage on Eater.