No seats, no hostess, no waiters.

In so-called cloud, dark, ghost and shared kitchens, cooking is done purely for home delivery.

A development that cannot be stopped, two experts tell NU.nl.

Although the phenomenon of dark kitchens is still in its infancy in the Netherlands, they are booming in the United States, India and China.

The production kitchens are often located on the outskirts of the city, in an industrial estate or in a back street.

"In China and India there are already gigantic shared kitchens where you, as a chef or restaurant, rent a place and where hundreds of bicycle couriers take to the street to deliver," says food service catcher Ubel Zuiderveld.

And in the US there are now supermarkets that prepare and deliver fresh meals in kitchens.

“Casper in Belgium is a good example.

They have, among other things, a Thai, a Mexican and a hamburger brand.

Anyone can order whatever they feel like and have it delivered in one order. ”

Ubel Zuiderveld, food service watcher

It is conceivable that this is also our vision of the future.

Anyway, the number of dark kitchens will also increase in the Netherlands, predicts food trend watcher Gijsbregt Brouwer.

"There are many variants between eating out and cooking at home. This is a new one that lends itself very well to delivery or collection."

The ultimate dark kitchen is a production kitchen where multiple styles and types of dishes are prepared, according to Zuiderveld.

"Casper in Belgium is a good example. They have a Thai brand, a Mexican brand and a hamburger brand. Anyone can order whatever they feel like and have it delivered in one order. The Dutch delivery platforms are not yet equipped for this, but that will undoubtedly come. "

Falafellow was created during the first lockdown.

Falafellow was created during the first lockdown.

Photo: Nina Slagmolen

How rewarding is it to deliver from a real restaurant?

Mathilde van der Weerd owns De Pizzabakkers Hilversum and started Falafellow during the first lockdown.

"When we noticed how well the delivery was going in Hilversum, I thought of starting a delivery restaurant in an empty building opposite my house in Amsterdam-Noord. We were open within ten days."

Initially popped up for a few months, but due to its success, they went ahead.

"We will soon be offering several concepts from the same kitchen. You can order via the well-known platforms, we do have our own delivery staff."

"If we are going to eat local products more often and waste less food as a result, it is absolutely welcome."

Gijsbregt Brouwer, food trend watcher

Van der Weerd thinks that delivery restaurants can be an addition to the existing catering industry.

"Many restaurants started deliveries during the corona crisis. It is a shame to stop doing that when they can reopen for guests, especially now that they can use extra turnover. They can use their own dark kitchen for this."

Food service catcher Zuiderveld endorses this: "The question is how rewarding it is to deliver from a real restaurant. During Corona, many catering businesses were forced to do this, but making a good living from it is not for everyone."

Great effect on appearance and atmosphere

Zuiderveld is concerned about the street scene.

If businesses close their windows en masse, it has a major effect on the appearance and atmosphere.

And there is also the social impact.

Brouwer: "Are the couriers well paid, are they employed and insured?"

According to Brouwer, whether the ghost kitchens are a supplement for the consumer mainly depends on the concept.

"If we hand it over to large foreign parties, I see it gloomy. But if we start eating local products more often and waste less food as a result, it is absolutely to be welcomed. We have just decided that we want to eat more sustainably and healthily. , we shouldn't let dark kitchens take that away from us. "