By Stephanie Bailey, CNN • Published 19th August 2020
(CNN) — If you live in a city and you feel hungry, the chances are you can browse a selection of your favorite restaurants on your cell phone and, before long, someone will be at your door delivering freshly made food.
But the meal may not have been made where you think. A growing number of home-delivery dishes aren't cooked at the restaurant customers order from; instead they're prepared in a "ghost kitchen."
Ghost kitchens -- also known as cloud kitchens or dark kitchens -- are facilities that produce food solely for home delivery. Because they don't need to attract passing customers, they often occupy premises with lower rents than restaurants, such as warehouses and even parking lots.
Some ghost kitchens are shared facilities -- large spaces that are leased to several restaurants -- while others are owned by companies contracted to cook for restaurants or takeaway services.
Dubai-based Kitopi operates in this space. It describes itself as the Middle East's biggest managed cloud kitchen company, and has also made moves to expand into the US and United Kingdom.
The startup prepares food for some 100 eateries across the Middle East, including international chains like Pizza Express. With more than 1,000 employees it produces over 200,000 meals a week and has raised more than $80 million in funding since launching in 2018.