Shake Shack to expand delivery operation having secured first dark kitchen sites

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Shake Shack to expand delivery operation having secured first dark kitchen sites Coronavirus

Related tags: dark kitchen, Deliveroo, delivery, Coronavirus

Shake Shack is set to open its first dark kitchen this weekend, having secured a space within the Deliveroo Editions site in London’s Battersea.

It’ll be the first of two delivery-only Editions locations set to be launched by the US burger chain in the UK, with a second site in Camden’s Swiss Cottage district due to open later this year. 

The news follows the decision by Shake Shack last month to reopen two of its London locations for takeaway and delivery​, having previously closed its entire UK estate as a result of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis. 

Sites in Canary Wharf and on Tottenham Court Road have reopened for delivery via Deliveroo, with diners also able to place takeaway orders at each respective site.

Shake Shack isn’t the only operator extending its reach through delivery-only dark kitchens as a way to try and drive revenue while restaurants remain closed.

Greek street food player The Athenian has recently launched two Deliveroo Editions sites​ in Reading and Brighton respectively; marking the brand’s first ventures outside of the capital. 

Speaking to BigHospitality ​recently, Athenian co-founder Neo Christodoulou said the expansion was not about maximising profit, but looking at the opportunities available to the business going forward.

He said: “We’re treating it like a mapping exercise, looking at how these kitchens in Brighton and Reading fare, with a view to potentially establishing bricks and mortar sites further down the line. 

“Operationally, it could prove to be a very beneficial approach, as we would already have begun establishing a pool of staff to train others and manage the sites as and when we open them.”

Other operators, meanwhile, have explored temporary expansion by utilising commercial kitchen spaces left empty by the Coronavirus shutdown.

Yesterday it was reported by BigHospitality​ that London-based fried chicken chain Coqfighter is aiming to open a dark kitchen location every week until the end of June​, having been forced to close all of its own sites as a result of Coronavirus.

So far the Coqfighter team have secured and begun operating out of a prep kitchen site in Hackney Wick; the St Leonards kitchen in Shoreditch; and a pub kitchen in Finsbury Park. 

A fourth location, in south east London, is also lined up.

To read an analysis on how Coqfighter, The Athenian, and other operators are using dark kitchen sites to keep things moving during the Coronavirus crisis, check out the latest issue of Restaurant magazine, which is available to read here​.

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