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?
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.