Red Lobster opens its first 'ghost kitchen' in Chicago

Red Lobster seafood restaurant showing company logo

Dining rooms are so old fashioned.

Red Lobster announced the opening of its first "ghost kitchen" location in Chicago, embracing a new style of restaurant focused entirely on fulfilling delivery orders for customers and forgoing the traditional dine-in or takeout models.

Red Lobster revealed in a press release shared with Fox News that its first ghost kitchen location is opening in South Loop Chicago. The delivery-only location will work with the restaurant chain’s delivery partners, which include Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats and Postmates.

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Ghost kitchens have become popular in recent months amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Red Lobster, too, has acknowledged that while the chain saw growth in its delivery services over the last several years, sales have tripled for delivery orders in 2020.

“We are thrilled to open our first ghost kitchen in the great city of Chicago. It will enable us to reach new guests who are not currently served by our existing brick-and-mortar restaurants,” said Kim Lopdrup, CEO of Red Lobster. “Off-premise is a huge priority for Red Lobster. We tripled our off-premise sales in the two years before COVID-19 began, and we’ve tripled them again over the last eight months.

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"Opening a ghost kitchen is a natural next step in expanding our off-premise business. It will allow us to reach new customers who want great seafood with a touchless off-premise experience.”

Ghost kitchens usually operate as standalone kitchens that aren’t attached to dining rooms of any kind, although some restaurant brands may operate ghost kitchens working within a traditional kitchen, fulfilling delivery orders that are separate from the original restaurant entirely.

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