Food And Drinks

Guy Fieri brings Flavortown ‘ghost kitchens’ to metro Detroit

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A household name in the kitchen serves some of its best dishes from several local restaurants in a unique way.

Chef and restaurateur Guy Fieri, host of the popular Food Network TV show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”, will open “ghost kitchens” in four Michigan restaurants under the name Guy Fieris Flavortown Kitchen. One of the participating restaurants is Bravo! Italian cuisine in Livonia, Rochester Hills and Lansing and an Italian brio grill in Sterling Heights. Both chains are owned and operated by Orlando-based Earl Enterprises.

Ghost kitchens, also known as cloud kitchens or virtual restaurants, only offer delivery and sometimes execution. The concept was developed before the coronavirus outbreak, but boomed when the pandemic changed the way diners visit restaurants, making operations safer with just kitchen and delivery.

Michigan restaurants are allowed to operate from a 10 p.m. curfew to a 25 percent curfew until March 29, while the pandemic continues.

Michigan’s Flavortown kitchens are in a period of gentle opening, according to a spokesman for Earl Enterprises. Orders can be placed through the Flavortown Kitchen website, the Flavortown app, or third-party delivery services such as Grubhub, DoorDash, Postmates, UberEats, and Seamless.

The menu includes Fieri’s Cajun Chicken Alfredo, Crazy Cuban Sandwich and Jalapeno Pig Poppers, as well as five shareable products, five sandwiches and burgers, four starters and salads, three side dishes and two desserts.

Virtual Dining Concepts, which Earl Enterprises founder Robert Earl also owns, is taking care of the project. According to Virtual Dining Concepts, restaurants can maximize their profits with delivery-only concepts, claiming partner restaurants could generate up to 30 percent profit every week. Partner restaurants do not pay upfront fees and use existing equipment and staff to prepare meals. The culinary staff at Virtual Dining Concepts provide training, recipes and a national supply chain for product consistency.

“We’re trying to maximize the restaurant, do more roadside pickups and online deliveries, and we still have little business,” Earl said in a video on the Virtual Dining Concepts website. “A virtual brand doesn’t affect your existing sales. It meets the demand for a different type of food in your region.”

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Dusty Kennedy