Ghost kitchen concept HUBB Kitchens expands throughout the Triangle.
It’s no secret that the pandemic ravaged the restaurant industry (and continues to even now). Over 2.5 million food/drink service jobs were lost and a great number of challenges arose—from the struggles to pay rent on a temporarily closed business to navigating takeout and delivery services, and so much more.
And those entrepreneurs who dreamt of opening their own restaurant were forced to either put a pin in their plans or trudge through the “unprecedented conditions” that entailed starting a business in the midst of a pandemic.
Embarking on a mission to ensure that all independent restaurant owners get the chance to open their own business is Jason Johnson, owner of ghost kitchen concept HUBB Kitchens, who’s opening a fifth HUBB Kitchens concept on Glenwood Avenue in September.
Entrepreneurs—big or small, new or existing—can sign up to use HUBB Kitchens’ commercial kitchen as a way to eliminate the massive startup costs associated with having your own brick-and-mortar. Businesses can use the ghost kitchen-esque locations for food preparation for delivery and/or catering, or to service food trucks.
“I worked 16 years for big businesses (Chili’s, Ruth Chris Steakhouse…),” says Johnson. “Years of managing kitchens run by talented people who ran into high capital costs to start a food business. I wanted to find a way to bring those resources to independent food entrepreneurs and create a community where individual members could benefit from the strength of the community as a whole.”
Each of HUBB Kitchens’ locations offer a full hot cooking kitchen; a cold prep room; and dry, cooler, and freezer storage space. Additionally, the flexible renting options allow businesses to save both time and money.
“The ghost kitchen model, especially those that service food trucks, is in high demand in the Triangle right now,” says TradeMark Properties Senior Vice President Vijay K. Shah, who represented Johnson in the Glenwood Avenue location transaction. “Many businesses don’t want or need to have a brick-and-mortar location. They just need a place to prep and store their food so that they can take it out to where their customers are.”
Johnson emphasizes the quality of the food coming out of HUBB Kitchens as well. “The food is made in the same way, with the same ingredients, the only difference is a restaurant like Chili’s doesn’t own the building,” he says. “It’s no different really than going to Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Durham vs. Raleigh.” Reframing the concept of ghost kitchens in this way crystallizes their popularity.
“The appeal of HUBB kitchens is the mysteriousness of them, but also a ghost kitchen is like a buffet line of restaurants,” says Johnson. “It gives the consumer, in the palm of their hand, multiple food brands in one delivery or pickup.” And it doesn’t get much better than that.