MrBeast Burger expands the concept of a ghost kitchen to what The New York Times called a “ghost franchise.” The difference is that restaurants across the country are disappearing behind the MrBeast Burger brand to create burgers. For example, in Utah, your burger may come from Bucca di Beppo. In Manhattan, Handcraft Kitchen & Cocktails.
The article further explains that this changes the traditional restaurant kitchen into a food preparation space for multiple brands simultaneously. During an industry-wrecking pandemic, this offers a bit of a lifeline to restaurants as they may receive more orders if they front themselves as a recognizable brand while skipping the phases of redesigning a menu and adulterating their pre-lockdown identity.
In essence, though, the ghost franchise differs from the standard franchise model (used by chains like McDonald’s or Chik-fil-A) only in that McDonald’s would have high stakes at play in investing in a new location, while MrBeast Burger exists as a loose contract between a restaurant that will follow its recipes and a YouTube celebrity who could replace them with a phone call.