The happy medium may come about, however, because the ghost kitchen is not a product of the pandemic. In fact, as the existence of 2019 report on ghost kitchens by USA Today proves, the ghost kitchen business model may have exploded in popularity due to the conditions of the coronavirus pandemic, but it came into being for a different factor: ghost kitchens came into existence due to cooks needing to adapt to a landscape dominated by delivery apps. At the time of their reporting, the delivery business was the fastest growing sector of the restaurants industry and already worth $26.8 billion.
In that context, it’s interesting to note that Flavortown Kitchen is made possible, according to Eater, by Fieri’s partnership with Robert Earl, head of Virtual Dining Concepts. This is worth noting because many of the celebrities who have established a ghost kitchen brand, such Fieri, Mariah Carey, and MrBeast have done so with Virtual Dining Concepts. The lifeline of these celebrity branded ghost kitchens, then, is merely an acceleration of big brand dominance over the restaurant industry. Perhaps once the pandemic has passed the landscape will establish a happy medium between the two, but the pandemic has primarily accelerated the growth of ghost brands like MrBeast Burger, not spawned them.