With the ghost kitchen market forecasted to reach $71.4 billion by 2027, it’s little wonder that more companies are jumping on the bandwagon, including ones that would, at least on the surface, seem to have little business entering that bourgeoning market. The latest company to throw its hat into the ring is PepsiCo, which this week announced that it has launched a new ghost kitchen capability for its foodservice partners. The new offering is designed to enable existing and future PepsiCo foodservice customers to enter the ghost kitchen space and leverage PepsiCo’s resources and brand portfolio to optimize off-premise performance.
Under this new umbrella offering, PepsiCo will reportedly harness learnings from the success of Pep’s Place, a virtual “fast beverage restaurant” concept launched for a period last year, to introduce additional ghost kitchen menus centered around some of PepsiCo’s most popular brands. The virtual brand came to life in partnership with the restaurant chain Famous Dave’s. Ordering through the restaurant’s website was enabled by Olo, with food delivery provided by services that included Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub. According to the company, the proof of concept was quickly demonstrated, with more than three million guests came through its virtual doors in just one month of operations.
Ghost kitchens mark a strategic expansion for PepsiCo Foodservice Digital Lab. Launched in 2019, as reported here, Digital Lab is a consultancy that melds digital and technology partners with proprietary in-house innovation to provide resources and solutions for PepsiCo Foodservice customers. The consultancy offers a suite of capabilities to connect customers with the companies, services, and insights best suited for their specific digital and online needs.
According to a company press statement, the new Digital Lab service is aimed at growing the off-premise needs of restaurant operators and “empower them to capture the 54% of adults who view food takeout or delivery as essential to the way they live.” In announcing the new offering, PepsiCo states that the combination of its “industry-leading digital capabilities” paired with its “culinary know-how and beloved portfolio of brands” make this an “unmatched offering.”
“Ghost kitchens offer foodservice operators an efficient, proven, and cost-effective way to improve kitchen profitability and overall supply-chain utilization without the burden of additional overhead and front of house operations typically associated with launching a new restaurant,” said André Moraes, senior director of marketing at PepsiCo Foodservice, in a press statement.
“PepsiCo Foodservice leads with innovation; we are constantly seeking new opportunities to learn and modernize to bring our customers cutting-edge capabilities to fuel their growth and drive success,” he said. “Digital Lab provides new and existing partners with a one-stop-shop to enter the space so they can focus on what they do best: creating delicious meals that delight consumers.”
According to Moraes, the PepsiCo Foodservice Digital Lab’s new ghost kitchen offering is designed to also create a turnkey, scalable solution for customers looking to bring their flavors to new or existing markets, grow their off-premise footprint, and drive revenue. PepsiCo makes the process “seamless” for customers by reportedly packaging up best-in-class digital marketing concepts while also providing expertise on menu optimization, media and launch strategies.