Gig economy engagement platform ShiftPixy announced today the launch of its Ghost Kitchen Incubator Project, which will provide advice and infrastructure to restaurants wanting to launch and/or improve their off-premises strategies.
The incubator is part of ShiftPixy’s new Labs offering, which is a suite of marketing and support services designed specifically for QSRs. ShiftPixy says that through it, restaurants can get insights and advice on what exactly they need to operate an off-premises business. Via the Incubator Project, that means access to physical kitchen space as well as ShiftPixy’s technology, which connects restaurants to delivery drivers and couriers.
ShiftPixy differentiates itself from third-party delivery services like DoorDash or Uber Eats by hiring these gig workers (“Shifters”) as W-2 employees and facilitating the connection between them and the restaurant. Meanwhile, ShiftPixy’s tech platform doesn’t act as a consumer-facing marketplace for food delivery. Rather, it powers the back end of restaurants’ native mobile apps.
For those restaurants, the benefits of a system like ShiftPixy’s is avoiding the high commission fees associated with other third-party services and retaining customer data because orders are coming through their own digital properties.
The benefits of this alternative delivery model are attractive at a time when most restaurants have been forced into doing delivery and other off-premises formats as a means of survival. Ghost kitchens, too, are growing more popular thanks to the pandemic, which has shuttered many restaurants and is now making many rethink how important the dining room is to their overall livelihoods.
In the QSR realm, ghost kitchens are becoming especially prevalent, with Starbucks, Fat Brands, The Halal Guys, Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s, and an ever-growing list of others either turning their own stores into ghost kitchens or renting space from third-party kitchen providers.
But, as we discussed at length in The Spoon’s recent report on ghost kitchens, not every QSR needs one. And of those that do, the specific requirements for equipment, location, menu items, and other factors will vary from one chain to the next.
ShiftPixy will undoubtedly address these and other issues through its new Incubator. Company CEO Scott Absher said in today’s press release that “if operators want to survive, they need to re-think their business processes, customer engagement and their approach to real estate.”
ShiftPixy hasn’t yet given full details on the new facility or said if any specific QSRs have yet signed onto the Incubator program. The company says it will “continue to issue updates” in the coming days, so stay tuned.