Dallas taco shop owners to launch ghost kitchen inside Walmart in Plano

Two North Texas residents who operate Public Taco in Dallas are launching a new commercial kitchen inside a Walmart at State Highway 121 and Ohio Drive in Plano, with a plan to sell food from nationally-known restaurants via delivery in Collin County.

The restaurant will also serve as a take-out restaurant for Walmart shoppers.

What is a ghost kitchen?

Ghost kitchens are one of the fastest growing segments of the hospitality industry. Ghost kitchens are simply large kitchens where delivery drivers from companies like Uber Eats and DoorDash can stop and pick up food, then drive it to its destination.

Ghost kitchens are different from traditional restaurants because they often don’t have dining areas or servers. They are also called “virtual” or “cloud” kitchens. Why the vague name? The idea is that it doesn’t matter where the ghost kitchens are.

Canadian company Ghost Kitchen Brands and Dallas-Fort Worth restaurateurs Mohammad Qasim and Joon Choe chose Walmart because the store already has an embedded customer base — and because there’s room in the market to shake up the scene. food and drink at big box stores. Plano’s Walmart will be a pickup location for delivery drivers, but will also serve as a take-out lunch or dinner stop for shoppers.

“If you walk into Walmart, where you used to see a McDonald’s, Burger King, or Subway, now you’ll see a restaurant, Ghost Kitchen Brands,” Qasim explained. “You’ll have a touch screen where you enter and place your order using our proprietary technology. You can go shopping and when you return you can pick up your take-out order.

What are ghost kitchens and where are they in Dallas?

Plano’s kitchen is slated to open in July or August 2022, operated by Qasim and Choe’s D-FW-based parent company, Madewell Co.

If successful, Dallas restaurateurs could sign deals to operate other ghost kitchen brands across Texas.

“First Plano, then the sky’s the limit,” Dana Hathaitham, director of business development for Ghost Kitchen Brands, wrote in an email.

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What kind of food will be sold?

Qasim said the food ordering experience should feel like a virtual dining room. Walmart in Plano is expected to sell food from 15 to 28 restaurants, all from one kitchen.

The menu should include Quiznos sandwiches, Cheesecake Factory desserts and dishes from Saladworks, Umami Burger and others. The menu will include each brand’s greatest hits, not entire menus.

Qasim and Choe said their Dallas taco shop, Public Taco, could be part of the delivery and delivery partnership inside these Walmart ghost kitchens; it was too early for them to discuss it.

Hathaitham said Ghost Kitchen Brands was impressed with Choe’s culinary background. He was born and raised in Plano and is a classically trained chef who went to the Culinary Institute of America in New York.

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How does meal delivery work?

As with nearly all ghost kitchens, Walmart’s kitchen in North Plano will partner with major delivery brands like Uber Eats and DoorDash.

Customers can expect to open a delivery app and choose a few dishes from restaurant brands they’re familiar with. They may never know, but that slice of cheesecake they’re ordering won’t come straight from a cheesecake factory, for example.

Qasim noted that the ghost kitchen model allows customers to combine orders from multiple restaurants on the same tab. “It allows for a lot more variety than they would traditionally get,” Qasim said.

“Now a family can choose multiple types of food and pay for one delivery.”

The Walmart Supercenter with this new Ghost Kitchen Brands store is located at 801 Ohio Drive, Plano. The ghost kitchen should open in six to eight weeks.

For more food news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.