Between the urge acting “business as usual” and the obvious fear getting out of the house, it seems the latter wins – big time. A recent decree of the Italian government from the 9th of March ordered the closing of all restaurants after 18:00, decree who leaves the streets free for delivery services to rule. Glovo, one of the services operating in Italy, announced the launch in Milan of an interesting kitchen hub (Italian) that has already been operating – I guess successfully – in Lima, Buenos Aires, Madrid, and Barcelona.

The Italian branch of Cook Room supports 6 “restaurants”, henceforth cooks from 6 restaurants who will dedicate to work for the delivery service. Their only contact with the outer world will be with suppliers who will fill the kitchen and couriers who will carry the dishes out to the streets. The only contact with the clients will be through the order printer.

This hub, named Dark Kitchen – part of opposing to Open Kitchen, part of working “in the shadows” – might resemble working on a factory’s assembly line, very far from the lively atmosphere a restaurant should be.

There are clear advantages for the restaurateurs:

  • Cheaper operation – regardless of the division between them and Glovo;

  • Maximizing the cooks’ work in both locations – those in the Dark Kitchen work without concerns for service, and the ones left in the restaurant can give better service for “real” customers;

  • Restaurants can expand through “virtual branches” far from their HQ, and use this hub as a trial balloon for their dishes before opening an actual restaurant.

The Milanese Cook Room will host 4 restaurants, and it’s interesting to see that all of them are not local Italian ones: Pacifik Poke (Hawaiian), Tomatillo (Mexican), Bun (Hamburgers), and Pescaria (seafood).

The timing might be a coincidence, and maybe Glovo hurried the opening up, but if isolation situation continues, we will probably see more of such “co-kitchens” open soon.

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