One of the most iconic spots on the Coney Island boardwalk, Nathan’s Famous has locations all over the country, plus Canada and the United Arab Emirates. And according to Restaurant Business, the company that started as a humble hot dog stand in 1916 opened 100 new virtual kitchens since June alone.
Host of the most famous eating contest in the world, Nathans has partnered with Reef ghost kitchens, Franklin Junction host kitchens, and individual restaurants to aid its expansion, NRN reports. Forty-five similar operations are planned for the future.
“Our goal with these ghost kitchens is not just to grow our brand around the world, but also help other restaurants by providing them additional business during these turbulent times for the industry,” SVP James Walker said in a statement.
“There’s no way, with our resources, even with the demand, that we would have been able to open 75 brick-and-mortar restaurants,” Walker told RB’s “A Deeper Dive” podcast in January, before its Ghost Kitchen count reached 100.
Restaurants are increasingly turning to ghost kitchens focused entirely on filling delivery orders during the pandemic. Even giants like Burger King, Taco Bell, and Checkers are introducing streamlined locations with an emphasis on drive-thru, pickup, and delivery orders rather than indoor dining and face-to-face interaction with employees.