Nate Pollak

VP, Enterprise Partnerships @ CloudKitchens

Nate Pollak has 13 years of experience in the restaurant industry. In 2009, he founded and launched his very own artisan fast-casual restaurant, The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, which from 2009 to 2022 that grew to multiple locations throughout the Bay Area, while also managing a profitable catering and events business. Nate began working with delivery service partners (DSPs) in 2013; he sold development agreements, and eventually grew his restaurant into a national franchise, launching the first chain of franchises in Florida in 2018. Over the years, Nate has been recognized in San Francisco Chronicle, Eater, Food & Wine Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Business Times, Franchise Times, and USA Today to name a few. His restaurant has been recognized in Food & Wine: “best new restaurant opening 2010”, USA Today: “best sandwich in America”, and SBA: “Small Business of the Year”. Nate is also the co-author of the best selling cook book, Grilled Cheese Kitchen.


Questions?We are here to help.

What is a ghost kitchen?

Ghost kitchens, also known as dark kitchens or virtual kitchens, are commercial kitchens built for food delivery. They’re located within the delivery radius of a high volume of online customers, rather than high foot traffic areas. With ghost kitchens, there’s no physical storefront or dining area, so you only need a few back-of-house staff members to fulfill online orders.

How does a ghost kitchen work?

In a ghost kitchen, your restaurant is focused on delivery rather than dine-in. When eaters order your food online, you’ll prepare it from your ghost kitchen, and hand it off to a fulfillment team to get the order over to the right delivery driver. This gives restaurateurs a low cost, high efficiency model to get the most out of delivery.

Are ghost kitchens profitable?

Yes. Ghost kitchens allow restaurateurs to increase profitability by maintaining the essential elements of a restaurant while cutting costs on labor, overhead, and wasted food while reaching a higher volume of customers ordering online. Plus, you can run multiple virtual brands out of a single ghost kitchen to increase revenue without the extra overhead.

Why are ghost kitchens so popular?

Ghost kitchens are rising in popularity because they’re a lower cost alternative to operating a traditional restaurant. They’re also focused on delivery, which has grown 300% faster than dine-in since 2014. That means restaurateurs are using ghost kitchens to future-proof their business and accelerate growth.

How does a ghost kitchen help your restaurant grow?

Ghost kitchens help restaurateurs grow their business by doing delivery right. The way we dine has changed, and ghost kitchens allow restaurant operators to capture food delivery demand without sacrificing their bottom line. They’re also a great way to expand to new markets without spending time and money on a traditional restaurant buildout. You can easily expand your restaurant brand to different cities across the country such as Los Angeles or New York.

How much do ghost kitchens cost?

The cost of ghost kitchens varies by market, space, and services. Compared to a traditional restaurant, they’re a much lower cost alternative on both upfront capital and ongoing operating costs. You can get started in a ghost kitchen with as little as $30K, instead of $1M+ for brick and mortar buildout.