The food scene is constantly changing. Our guest author Hans Gerlach went in search of the most exciting developments and identified five food trends for 2021, which we will bring to you in a short series. Today: #1 Ghost Kitchen.
Restaurateurs need to find creative ways to continue serving their guests despite closed venues. An increasing array of innovative concepts is enriching the delivery scene, which for decades, was essentially characterized by monotonous pizza places. Starting in Berlin, we expect to see the spread of so-called “ghost kitchens” this year, where people cook around the clock for various virtual restaurant brands.
Ghost Kitchen: Welcome to Digital Gastronomy
No matter which hip, online restaurant the customer orders from, porridge, pad thai, and pizza could come from the same 24-hour ghost kitchen. The synergies and economies of scale make it possible to charge competitive prices, where even the costly delivery service is already priced in, in contrast to the classic regular restaurant. The menu of the ghost kitchens is no longer designed by the chef alone. The changing menu is determined by an algorithm influenced by order data, profit margins, and SEO aspects.
But even the top segment is on the move. While it was previously unthinkable for many fine-dining chefs to relinquish control over the final touches, there is now a clear change of mindset here as well due to the pandemic. Gourmet cuisine to go even has the potential to become a long-term trend for more noble occasions. After all, the experience menus from the top chef are rounded-out by an elegant menu card, the finely tuned wine accompaniment, or even a hand-signed cookbook.
So, even if we are not able to enjoy a carefree visit to a restaurant for a while, 2021 is likely to bring a growing variety of gastronomic innovations.
Hans Gerlach is an experienced chef, renowned food photographer, and successful food author. As a columnist, he works for the Süddeutsche Zeitung magazine, among others. One of the Munich native’s specialties is lovingly crafted stop-motion food films.