Your food is here. It's from a restaurant that doesn't exist. | Town Square | Palo Alto Online |

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Your food is here. It's from a restaurant that doesn't exist.

Original post made on Nov 7, 2019

Virtual restaurants, which live on mobile delivery apps and operate out of the kitchens of brick-and-mortar restaurants, are a growing phenomenon in the Bay Area, and the Peninsula is no exception.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, November 7, 2019, 2:06 PM

Comments (14)

27 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 7, 2019 at 3:00 pm

Meal delivery companies are ruining the restaurant experience. They delivery companies play hardball with the restaurants, forcing them to cut their profit margin on delivery food and forcing them into a pickup schedule that prioritizes delivery orders over orders by customers sitting in the restaurant. This increases prices and reduces service levels to actual sit-down customers.


14 people like this
Posted by I just lost my appetite
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 7, 2019 at 3:24 pm

Sounds like a big fraud/scam/tax dodge scheme. What problem is operating multiple "virtual restaurants" out of one kitchen solving? Is each virtual restaurant licensed by the City, County Health, etc? Or just the one that operates the actual "non-virtual" kitchen? Is it the exact same food they just put it in a different box/bag?


10 people like this
Posted by Johhny 5 Alive!
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 8, 2019 at 10:41 am

If only the food in the virtual kitchens could be cooked by virtual cooks (machine boils your pasta noodles, dumps them in whichever color/brand box you prefer and squirts sauce onto them) and delivered by driverless cars then we will have really acheived a new milestone in human evolution. Technological innovation knows no bounds I can hardly wait to hear what new breakthrough is in store for humanity.


8 people like this
Posted by Transparency/Accountability?
a resident of Mayfield
on Nov 8, 2019 at 11:55 am

Who do I sue if I get the squirts from eating this crud?


7 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 8, 2019 at 1:08 pm

Posted by Transparency/Accountability?, a resident of Mayfield

>> Who do I sue [?]

As long as the food is prepared in an actual kitchen in a known location, then, that is who you sue. OTOH, I resent companies like Zume Pizza parking their "Mobile Kitchens" on public property for years without paying rent.


8 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 8, 2019 at 1:16 pm

"This increases prices and reduces service levels to actual sit-down customers."

Ok Boomer


10 people like this
Posted by Evan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 8, 2019 at 3:10 pm

"As long as the food is prepared in an actual kitchen in a known location, then, that is who you sue. OTOH, I resent companies like Zume Pizza parking their "Mobile Kitchens" on public property for years without paying rent."

They're just taking advantage of horrible the public policy we have to subsidize car storage. I can park my car there for free for the same time. Why is using the same space to cook pizzas for other people a worse use then me (or you) parking our cars there?

Instead of whining about which use is noble or not in your book, how about we stop massively subsidizing (and paving land for) car storage?


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 8, 2019 at 3:35 pm

Posted by Evan, a resident of Crescent Park

>> Instead of whining about which use is noble or not in your book

I don't recall saying that your parking your car in front of your house was "noble"?!?! But, as a resident, you are paying to maintain city streets, so, some level of usage could be considered to be "included". Or not. Up to the PACC to decide.

>> how about we stop massively subsidizing (and paving land for) car storage?

Works for me. I would be happy if the city charged everyone, residents included, including me, for parking on city streets.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 8, 2019 at 4:21 pm

Personally speaking, I have no objection to a chef or similar starting a business doing delivery without a dining room. Pick up or delivery is not a bad idea v running a dining room.

What I really object to is when a phone delivery or online delivery comes in just as it is my turn to order at a counter service restaurant and that order gets priority over mine. My patronage is just as important as any phone or delivery order even if that order is much larger than mine.

I could choose to phone in my order while outside and skip to the front of the line, but is that fair to those in line in front of me?


4 people like this
Posted by Snacking Drivers tasting your food
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 8, 2019 at 5:31 pm

I know one that even carries repackaging tools (tape, stapler, crimper)
Of all my friends who deliver, every single one says they'll give it a taste.
It's generally cold as well, all for a big premium.
I guess if I was far too baked to drive or care it would maybe look appealing.


2 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 8, 2019 at 8:28 pm

I read about this several weeks ago - happening in Chicago. It’s successful there. Big restaurant city, of every type of variety including now these ghost kitchens.


8 people like this
Posted by Mary Ruth Leen
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 8, 2019 at 10:28 pm

Mary Ruth Leen is a registered user.

Ok, millennials; first world problem!
Commit to something that matters!


Like this comment
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on Nov 9, 2019 at 3:59 pm

"I resent companies like Zume Pizza parking their "Mobile Kitchens" on public property for years without paying rent."

Have you ever tried Zume's pizza? It is really good. Of course they use mobile kitchens. It allows them to move to wherever the demand is highest at at a particular time. That decreases the driving distance for the delivery drivers.

"I know one that even carries repackaging tools (tape, stapler, crimper)
Of all my friends who deliver, every single one says they'll give it a taste.
It's generally cold as well, all for a big premium.
I guess if I was far too baked to drive or care it would maybe look appealing."

The mobile kitchens are starting to put packaging measures in place to prevent that.


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2019 at 10:47 am

Posted by Kenny, a resident of University South

>> Have you ever tried Zume's pizza? It is really good.

Have you ever tried Pizza Chicago? It is really good.

>> Of course they use mobile kitchens.

Of course, it costs twice as much as Zume, since Pizza Chicago has to pay rent, while Zume can park on the bicycle boulevard (forcing bicycles out into the auto part of the street).


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