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How ‘ghost kitchens’ are changing the restaurant industry

Watch ‘The Weekly on ClickOrlando.com’ Sundays on News 6

ORLANDO, Fla. – When ordering take-out you probably assume the food that's delivered comes from the restaurant you ordered from, but that's not always the case.

With the popularity of food delivery service apps, like Uber Eats, Postmates and DoorDash, more and more restaurants are preparing food in off-site facilities known as ghost kitchens.

Orlando-based Red Lobster announced it will soon operate a number of ghost kitchens around the country, with the first expected to be somewhere in the Midwest. CEO Kim Lopdrup joined anchor Justin Warmoth on "The Weekly on ClickOrlando.com" to discuss the new way of ordering delivery.

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"Ghost kitchens are facilities that are actually invisible to the public," Lopdrup said. "Multiple restaurant companies will lease spaces and then deliver from those sites."

In the last two years, Lopdrop said Red Lobster has nearly tripled its off-premise business by improving its take-out packaging and online ordering website. While good for the company’s bottom line, the higher number of take-out orders are clogging up kitchens that still have to prepare food for people dining inside.

"The benefit of a ghost kitchen is it lets us get closer to the guest," Lopdrup said. "An average dine-in guest typically travels ten miles to get to a Red Lobster, but our delivery radius is only three miles, so that means we're actually not yet capturing most of the opportunity."

Orlando won't have any ghost kitchens in Red Lobster's initial batch of locations, but Lopdrop said there will be locations here in the future.

Watch “The Weekly on ClickOrlando.com with Justin Warmoth” Sunday at 7:30 a.m. on News 6.


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