VP at Chick-fil-A Inc
- Ghost kitchen operations and cost differences vs traditional restaurant models
- Growth and sustainability of prominent players such as Kitchen United and CloudKitchens
- Competitive shifts and ghost kitchens' impact on standard QSRs (quick-service restaurants)
- Role of third-party food delivery services such as GrubHub (NYSE: GRUB), Uber Eats, Deliveroo, etc
- 2019-20 outlook including scenario analyses
Can you highlight key trends in the QSR [quick-service restaurant] and food delivery sector? How should the investment community be assessing developments here?
How are the main players in the ghost kitchens market behaving? What are the guidelines for the competitive environment, and how do some of these bigger players compare to newer entrants?
You mentioned major players trying to rush and get set up. Can you outline what it takes to set up either an independent ghost kitchen or more of an established franchisee model, where they are placing a location where they see fit? What is the timeframe here?
How would you describe the development status of US ghost kitchens? What is the runway, and what are your expectations for a growth rate? Do you envisage faster development to catch up to Europe and Asia?
How do you think the relatively new entrance of ghost kitchens will shake up the landscape? What ripple effects would you expect across entrenched QSR players, fast-casual or food delivery services or even grocery stores as ghost kitchens continue to develop?
Would you expect more of these new brands to go directly down the ghost kitchen route? What do you think the split will be here, and how are QSRs evaluating ghost kitchens overall?
How feasible do you think vertical integration would be, to allow food delivery companies such as Uber Eats to operate their own kitchen and cook their own food? How would that change the landscape?
The completely vertically integrated side you highlighted sounds comparable to the traditional pizza delivery system. How do you think players such as Domino’s and other pizza QSRs will be perceived as potential victims to this similar, more encompassing model?
What are the ballpark cost differences between a traditional QSR and a ghost kitchen? How would you expect definitions to change across fixed and variable costs, set-up locations, etc?
Could you offer some ballpark ranges or estimates around ghost kitchens’ licencing, utility and processing fees? How would you expect those prices or charges to change as the sector continues to grow?
How do the overall store-level economics differ between a ghost kitchen and a QSR? With respect to dine-in only for QSR, or the delivery systems in place, can you outline the cost of a new store for each?
How do you expect these store-level economics to behave as ghost kitchens continue to scale, and operational best practices are discovered?
Can you clarify the typical take rate for the third-party delivery companies used by ghost kitchens? What is the leverage there?
How is food quality and quantity maintained in a ghost kitchen? How can these newer types of kitchens uphold and replicate the quality customers expect, and ensure they are not subpar to the QSR version?
What are the main operational differences between a ghost kitchen and a typical QSR? How might this play out at the individual level as the number of brands in a ghost kitchen increases? How does chef churn differ between the two?
What are the core differences between an established brand such as McDonald’s moving into the ghost kitchen arena vs a newer brand going in without a hard-set location? How is this reflected economically or in the relative success rates?
What is your perspective of a very asset-light-type of QSR model? Young brands are very franchised instead of corporate-owned. Are there any significant differences from a heavy franchisee model regarding ghost kitchen interest, or how does the corporate side weigh in?
Could you share any summarising comments around ghost kitchens, reiterating any aspects of today’s discussion that you think is particularly key?
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