New ghost kitchen concept aims to help independent

Restaurant owner Jon Goci was contemplating hiring another back-of-house employee for the kitchen to help during the dinner rush at his Wayne business, US 12 Bar & Grill. 

Goci said he wasn’t sure he could afford to offer someone enough hours, until he connected with Catapult Concepts. In addition to serving pub grub to their in-house customers, now the kitchen at US 12 also makes food for two of Catapult’s digital-only restaurant brands, Cheesesteak Daddy and Pop’s Meatball Sandwich.

“I’m going to say my food sales are up about 30 to 40%. It’s been really amazing,” said Goci, adding that he was able to hire that extra employee because of the increase in orders from the digital brands. 

Anyone even peripherally following the restaurant industry has noticed the uptick in “ghost kitchens” or “cloud kitchens.” 

Many of them are corporately owned virtual brands, operating from the kitchens of other corporately owned brands, with some exceptions. Ghost kitchens were a billion dollar industry globally in 2019, and the pandemic only accelerated the demand.