Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-20-2017, 10:49 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CentralArkansas
Posts: 22,543
You might be ordering delivery from a restaurant that doesn't exist.

I'm not sure what to make of this. We don't have many home food delivery options where I live. A few wealthy areas in my city has a service called Chef Shuttle. They operate within a small delivery area near the restaurants. Chef Shuttle picks up the food and delivers to your home for a fee. I looked at their list of restaurants and they are real places that I've visited or driven by.

My wife and I enjoy eating at restaurants and occasional home delivery from those places would be nice. It'll never happen in my part of the city. Nearly all the nice restaurants are on the other side of the city. We're limited to fast food choices ten minutes from our house.

It's hard for me to imagine ordering food from a place that isn't a dine-in restaurant too. It's the dine-in experience that makes me crave a particular menu item.

What's your reaction? Is this the future of dining at home?

http://nypost.com/2017/03/20/that-aw...ctually-exist/

Quote:
These restaurants have Instagram and Facebook accounts. They respond to you on social media. And when an obliging man on a delivery bike turns up at your door he’s brandishing branded cups and cutlery. These businesses have a footprint, you can see and touch and eat from them. They’re restaurants, just like any other restaurant.

Except that they’re not. They’re all – plus a handful more – operated out of that kitchen by a parent company called Green Summit, founded in 2013 and churning out more than 7,500 meals a week to the tune of $30 million profit last year. All those restaurants are ghost restaurants: delivery-only businesses with no storefront and no dine-in option.

Last edited by aceplace57; 03-20-2017 at 10:54 PM.
  #2  
Old 03-20-2017, 11:05 PM
Skywatcher Skywatcher is online now
Uncharted
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Somewhere in the Potomac
Posts: 31,849
Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
It's hard for me to imagine ordering food from a place that isn't a dine-in restaurant too. It's the dine-in experience that makes me crave a particular menu item.
You've never ordered Chinese? Plenty of them are take-out or delivery only, no seating area.
  #3  
Old 03-20-2017, 11:08 PM
Bayard Bayard is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 5,405
The websites state upfront that they are delivery only. They're not trying to fool anyone as far as I can tell. It's just a branding strategy which doesn't strike me as much different than having various brands on different products at the supermarket that come from the same source. I've been to restaurants that are takeout only. As far as I know -- or care, really -- there could be a vast industrial kitchen behind the counter.

Bottom line for me: meh. I'd probably give it a try.
  #4  
Old 03-20-2017, 11:08 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CentralArkansas
Posts: 22,543
I rarely eat Chinese unless my wife insists on going. There are several local places. I think some offer take out only. Never tried ordering any Chinese for delivery.

Take out only seems more reasonable. There's still a location you visit and that's where the food is prepared.

Somehow a huge industrial operation with multiple food production lines seems a bit off putting.

Last edited by aceplace57; 03-20-2017 at 11:13 PM.
  #5  
Old 03-20-2017, 11:10 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sweet Home Chicago
Posts: 33,496
In the last year, I've noticed a few restaurants on the Grubhub for Chicago that are always delivery only. I thought it was odd, but I kind of chalked it up to someone essentially cooking in their kitchen and taking orders on Grubhub. Since some of the best meals I've ever had have been from restaurants that were essentially that (grandpa in the kitchen, mom behind the register, kids bagging things for carryout and delivery), I don't really have a problem with that. Everything I've tried from these delivery only Grubhub options has been delicious.

But I do wonder now if it might have been one of these guys. Huh. Still don't care, as long as the food is good and delivery doesn't take 2 hours.
  #6  
Old 03-20-2017, 11:11 PM
sitchensis sitchensis is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: revillagigedo
Posts: 2,446
Somebody should have done this with mall food courts years ago.
  #7  
Old 03-20-2017, 11:14 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 75,058
My niece works for a company like this in Houston. The restaurants are real; you can go into them and sit down and eat a meal in them. Her company makes arrangements with restaurants to act as essentially an independent delivery service. You order a meal, pay by credit card, and a driver (like my niece) picks it up at the restaurant and delivers it to your house.
  #8  
Old 03-20-2017, 11:17 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CentralArkansas
Posts: 22,543
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
My niece works for a company like this in Houston. The restaurants are real; you can go into them and sit down and eat a meal in them. Her company makes arrangements with restaurants to act as essentially an independent delivery service. You order a meal, pay by credit card, and a driver (like my niece) picks it up at the restaurant and delivers it to your house.
That's how Chef Shuttle works. Their delivery area is limited but it's a nice option for people they serve.

I'd order from them if they served my area of the city. Depends on how much they charge.

Last edited by aceplace57; 03-20-2017 at 11:19 PM.
  #9  
Old 03-20-2017, 11:26 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CentralArkansas
Posts: 22,543
We might see a shift to a more industrial restaurant system. Where huge facilities churn out food for local home delivery. It might get very popular.

It's a bit like Swanson, Stouffer's, and Marie Callender's. They create millions of meals, flash freeze them, and sell in grocery stores.

Last edited by aceplace57; 03-20-2017 at 11:29 PM.
  #10  
Old 03-21-2017, 12:19 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Brooklyn
Posts: 15,242
Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
We might see a shift to a more industrial restaurant system. Where huge facilities churn out food for local home delivery. It might get very popular.
G.K. Chesterton considered the communal kitchen idea in a 1908 essay.

"...if I thought that by dining in restaurants I was working for the creation of communal meals, I would never enter a restaurant again; I would carry bread and cheese in my pocket or eat chocolate out of automatic machines."
  #11  
Old 03-21-2017, 12:40 PM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is offline
Just Lovely and Delicious
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 23,740
Cleveland has a new(ish) service that combines the "industralized" idea with that of the company Little Nemo's niece works at and a tinge of the "get a fresh, fancy meal" mealbox idea, called Mod Meals.

The food is created by local chefs with real local restaurants, but the items are prepared ahead of time and made with portability and re-heat-ability in mind. So you can't just order anything off of the menu at Chef X's restaurant, but you can get a dish delivered to you that was created and prepped by Chef X. It comes in a special container with heating instructions, often with a tiny bit of assembly required (such as "put the arugula on the salad"). The menu changes every week, and items can & do get sold out.

Awesome idea, and they deliver really far out of the city, even to me.

Last edited by ZipperJJ; 03-21-2017 at 12:41 PM.
  #12  
Old 03-21-2017, 12:47 PM
witzel witzel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: NYC
Posts: 29
There are a not-insignificant number of so-called "ghost restaurants" in New York City, listed on delivery websites but without an actual physical presence at all. I had one near home that listed an address, but did not exist there, and they weren't exactly forthcoming when I called the number they listed. No, I will not be ordering a Philly cheesesteak from you, thanks.

The problem is that the restaurant can't be inspected for cleanliness by the DoH if it doesn't exist. So while you might think you're getting delivery from a regulated restaurant, it's really just someone in an apartment with very likely questionable food handling practices. If these people were up front about it - there are home-chef setups in many cities, presumably given the official okay - then fine, but these are skirting the law.
  #13  
Old 03-21-2017, 12:58 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: F.O.S.O.N.E.
Posts: 19,903
Well, this is all food for thought. Or thought experiment...

We have no delivery and take out is very limited within about ten miles. We have okay restaurants about 15 miles out, but the good ones are 20-30.

We eat too much BK and second-rate pizza on no-cook nights.

Last edited by Amateur Barbarian; 03-21-2017 at 12:59 PM.
  #14  
Old 03-21-2017, 01:34 PM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 5,000
Quote:
Originally Posted by witzel View Post
There are a not-insignificant number of so-called "ghost restaurants" in New York City, listed on delivery websites but without an actual physical presence at all. I had one near home that listed an address, but did not exist there, and they weren't exactly forthcoming when I called the number they listed. No, I will not be ordering a Philly cheesesteak from you, thanks.

The problem is that the restaurant can't be inspected for cleanliness by the DoH if it doesn't exist. So while you might think you're getting delivery from a regulated restaurant, it's really just someone in an apartment with very likely questionable food handling practices. If these people were up front about it - there are home-chef setups in many cities, presumably given the official okay - then fine, but these are skirting the law.
You think it makes a difference if they are inspected? There are tons of true eat-in restaurants with health code violations. Unless you are 100% checking the latest information from the inspectors before you eat there, I'm sure you've eaten at some of them.

The idea of "ghost restaurants" by itself doesn't alarm me. Sure, if they are skirting some loophole and aren't being inspected, then yeah I wouldn't order from them. But if they are inspected, and they aren't trying to fool anyone, and they offer good food, who cares if they don't have a physical eat-in location?
  #15  
Old 03-21-2017, 01:36 PM
teela brown teela brown is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Almost Silicon Valley
Posts: 8,870
That explains what I'm seeing on DoorDash. When I'm making a choice, I'll run one of the restaurants listed on the DoorDash website through yelp.com to see how they're rated. Some of them do not come up on yelp.com at all, so I guess they're the carryout-only kind.
  #16  
Old 03-21-2017, 01:56 PM
chrisk chrisk is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Southern ontario
Posts: 6,568
Quote:
Originally Posted by witzel View Post
The problem is that the restaurant can't be inspected for cleanliness by the DoH if it doesn't exist. So while you might think you're getting delivery from a regulated restaurant, it's really just someone in an apartment with very likely questionable food handling practices. If these people were up front about it - there are home-chef setups in many cities, presumably given the official okay - then fine, but these are skirting the law.
Well, maybe. I have to wonder exactly how the "skirting" works, and if it isn't based on the DoH following the line of least resistance. If they're simply going to a city block and investigating all the brick-and-mortar restaurants they find, then the skirting would be easy.

If, on the other hand, they actually take the trouble to look and see "hey, where are people ordering takeout from lately," then you think they'd be able to follow a trail pretty well and find out where the food actually comes from.

Now I'm imagining a Health Department delivery sting... once the delivery guy shows up, they flash their badges and demand to be shown where he got the cheesesteak.
__________________
Stringing Words Forum
Aspiring writers and authors supporting each other.
Goals and resolutions our particular specialty - also sharing commiseration and triumphs.
Join today!
  #17  
Old 03-21-2017, 02:05 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 24,857
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
My niece works for a company like this in Houston. The restaurants are real; you can go into them and sit down and eat a meal in them. Her company makes arrangements with restaurants to act as essentially an independent delivery service. You order a meal, pay by credit card, and a driver (like my niece) picks it up at the restaurant and delivers it to your house.
I think that's completely different from what the OP is talking about.
Quote:
Originally Posted by witzel View Post
The problem is that the restaurant can't be inspected for cleanliness by the DoH if it doesn't exist. So while you might think you're getting delivery from a regulated restaurant, it's really just someone in an apartment with very likely questionable food handling practices. If these people were up front about it - there are home-chef setups in many cities, presumably given the official okay - then fine, but these are skirting the law.
And the operation in the OP is clearly more complex than a "home-chef setup", given that they're talking about 7,500 meals weekly. I assume the kitchen used by Green Summit is regularly inspected.
  #18  
Old 03-21-2017, 02:13 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 14,508
I don't know that I've ever really pondered it, but don't tons of brick-and-mortar places bake and deliver pizzas while offering no sit-down-and-dine-here options?
  #19  
Old 03-21-2017, 02:24 PM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 9,858
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
I don't know that I've ever really pondered it, but don't tons of brick-and-mortar places bake and deliver pizzas while offering no sit-down-and-dine-here options?
Like Dominos?
In Massachusetts at least, getting a license for a pickup/delivery only restaurant is significantly easier than getting one that also allows dining in. The best Thai place near me closed several years ago because he put out 2 tables for people to eat at, and got nailed by the Board of Health.
  #20  
Old 03-21-2017, 03:11 PM
witzel witzel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: NYC
Posts: 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
I think that's completely different from what the OP is talking about.
And the operation in the OP is clearly more complex than a "home-chef setup", given that they're talking about 7,500 meals weekly. I assume the kitchen used by Green Summit is regularly inspected.
It is indeed completely different from what the OP was talking about. I was referring to the ones that don't exist at all except in someone's apartment.

I most definitely eat in restaurants with B and C (and "GRADE PENDING") restaurants. The difference is that those restaurants are fined and sometimes shut down for a period of time until they can get their kitchens in order, so at least there's some public good in the system.

There are actual "home chef" operations and the "one kitchen for all our various enterprises" operations (like the OP has access to) that are perfectly fine, because they are up-front about their model. Being transparent means being regulated in some way. When you skirt that, that's at best unfair business practice and at worst begging to make people sick.

Eater NY reported on the activity I was referring to, where a nonexistent business would offer delivery-only -- not even pickup -- because they were in fact cooking out of unlicensed kitchens.

http://ny.eater.com/2015/11/11/97166...ake-restaurant
  #21  
Old 03-21-2017, 05:27 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CentralArkansas
Posts: 22,543
I had an apartment during my junior year of college. There was a guy there that smoked barbecue on his patio. I soon learned a tasty sandwich could be had for the right price.

The guy had a nice side income for awhile. Eventually somebody reported him and I heard that the Health Dept read him the riot act. Ending my supply of late night sandwiches.

A shame because they were very good. I recognize there was a slight risk but barbecue is a well cooked meat. I never had any concerns.

Last edited by aceplace57; 03-21-2017 at 05:30 PM.
  #22  
Old 03-21-2017, 06:09 PM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Falls Church, Va.
Posts: 13,296
Also, the food is all just extruded seaweed meal pressed into different shapes and colors.
  #23  
Old 03-21-2017, 09:00 PM
bmoak bmoak is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 990
I don't mind a industrial-type kitchen, basically along the lines of a large-scale catering operation, running a delivery-only operation. (I'm assuming the kitchen would be subject to health and safety inspections). I would mind if they pass themselves off as different restaurants with their advertising and copy, especially if they pass themselves off as mom-and-pop or small authentic ethnic joints ("Diego had a dream when he came to America: To recreate his Tia Rosa's famous Baja fish taco recipe.")
  #24  
Old 03-21-2017, 09:21 PM
Derleth Derleth is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Missoula, Montana, USA
Posts: 19,825
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmoak View Post
I would mind if they pass themselves off as different restaurants with their advertising and copy, especially if they pass themselves off as mom-and-pop or small authentic ethnic joints ("Diego had a dream when he came to America: To recreate his Tia Rosa's famous Baja fish taco recipe.")
The only way I'd mind if they rebranded themselves is if that made it harder for me to avoid them if I thought their food was crap. Otherwise, branding is just business, and I don't care.

bmoak: Do you care if a dine-in restaurant lies about its history? Like how Einstein Bros Bagels pretends to a history from the 1890s when it was founded in 1990?
  #25  
Old 03-21-2017, 10:26 PM
bmoak bmoak is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 990
Quote:
Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
The only way I'd mind if they rebranded themselves is if that made it harder for me to avoid them if I thought their food was crap. Otherwise, branding is just business, and I don't care.

bmoak: Do you care if a dine-in restaurant lies about its history? Like how Einstein Bros Bagels pretends to a history from the 1890s when it was founded in 1990?
Branding is one thing. I wasn't clear in my post, but the OP laid out a situation where the central kitchen is branding itself as multiple restaurants, with my caveat that the central kitchen is branding itself as multiple small mom-and-pop and/or authentic ethnic places when it is the same people making all the food in the same kitchen with the same supplies off the Sysco truck.

I don't think much of places that make up a fake backstory, unless it was done in an obviously tongue-in-cheek manner.
  #26  
Old 03-21-2017, 10:40 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 75,058
Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
We might see a shift to a more industrial restaurant system. Where huge facilities churn out food for local home delivery. It might get very popular.
We tried it in the prison system. We had the huge food production operation in Elmira (it was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest kitchen in the world). Every week they would make hundreds of thousands of meals and chill them down to just above freezing. Then they'd load them up on trucks and ship them out to all of the prisons in the state. At the prisons all we had to do was heat and serve.

It didn't last. It turned out it was cheaper to decentralize the system rather than run it all out of one place.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:32 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017