A Surrey-based hospitality company has launched a series of “ghost restaurants” as a way to meet growing consumer demand for delivered meals.
Joseph Richard Group’s Meal Ticket Brands venture involves delivery-only restaurant offerings, following a year of research and development by operators of the chain.
The concept involves “repurposing traditional kitchen spaces” already part of the JRG group, and using existing third-party delivery services.
On Monday (April 22), the company boasted about opening “100 restaurants in one day across the Fraser Valley” as part of its effort to “disrupt” the local restaurant industry.
The launched brands include Obey Poke, Stak’d Sandwich Co., Bun + Burger, Power Plant Greens and more, with others to come. Each menu has been crafted by JRG’s culinary team, which includes executive chef Andy Slinn and David Jorge, Surrey’s Master Chef Canada winner.
“These ‘Ghost Restaurants’ will service customers through an online-only delivery concept, operating with increased efficiencies to streamline the operations process,” JRG said in a release. “The concept allows for brands to build out a number of cuisines, effectively optimizing their ability to cater to the ever-changing tastes and trends of consumers.”
JRG, founded in 2009 by Surrey-area childhood friends Andre ‘Joseph’ Bourque and Ryan ‘Richard’ Moreno, now includes 25 public houses, restaurants and liquor retail outlets in B.C. and Alberta.
“It’s a shift in the industry and we want to get out there and be a leader with this,” Moreno told the Now-Leader in a phone interview.
The Meal Ticket Brands launch is “a testament to the continued popularity of food delivery services,” he said.
“Through innovative technology and an incredible team, we’ve been able to disrupt the status quo and offer a new way for our customers to enjoy a variety of unique cuisines.”
On the Meal Ticket website, those who order menu items from the new brands are linked to the Skip the Dishes delivery service.
“I’ve come around on the idea that food in a restaurant is supposed to only be cooked there and served right there, that’s just the way it’s supposed to be,” Moreno said. “But things have progressed and the growth of delivered food is just exponential to the point where people are telling you that’s what they want.”
Moreno said Meal Ticket Brands is “certainly not something I believe is going to eliminate restaurants – there’ll always be a need for restaurants, somewhere to go for birthdays, a night out with friends, whatever the event. This isn’t going to replace that, but this is going to change the industry, for sure, in a lot of ways. It re-purposes restaurants…. Equipment’s equipment, it’s the people behind the stove that make all the difference. It’s all about consumer demands.”
Eventually, Moreno said, some kitchen-only operations will open under the Meal Ticket Brands banner.
“We’re close on some of those,” he said. “Those places will be set up to do only deliveries, not a dine-in experience. We have some strategic partnerships in place, to partner with operators to use other facilities.”
On Saturday (April 27), JRG’s Blank Canvas Catering division will serve country-style food during One Night in the Valley, a fundraiser at Cloverdale Agriplex featuring a performance by Dallas Smith. The gala concert will benefit Variety – the Children’s Charity.