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Food + Late Stage Capitalism 

The curious phenomenon of "ghost kitchens" has arrived in Canada. These are commercial kitchen facilities that exist solely to fill orders for food delivery gig platforms like Skip the Dishes, DoorDash and Uber Eats.

cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/yo

Each kitchen often poses as several different "restaurants". It is like another shitty silicon valley scam idea like "ghost hotels" on AirBnB and drop shippers with fake Shopify storefronts selling cheap watches and stuff.

Food + Late Stage Capitalism 

@msh Why are ghost kitchens controversial?

Food + Late Stage Capitalism 

@Lofenyy @msh When I first heard of this model, I was uneasy but didn't know very much. (uneasy because it is less transparent that a physical restaurant)

This morning on CBC Radio One I learned that (at least some) ghost kitchens are trailers. Where are they parked? Who runs them? Will they disappear suddenly, appearing in a different city?

Food + Late Stage Capitalism 

@puzzled @msh I'm sure some company hired by the fast food companies, or hired by the courier companies with the permissions granted by the fast food companies run them.

They're parked where ever. All that matters is that they're parked and operating legally.

Can they disappear and reappear elsewhere? I assume so. Why wouldn't they?

Food + Late Stage Capitalism 

@Lofenyy from what I've been able gather literally none of the ghost kitchens in Alberta are associated with any fast food or restaurant operations at all, whether it be a chain or independent. None of their online listings correspond to an actual licensed foodservice operation. As such they should not be located where it is zoned for storefront retail and restaurants (they should be in light industrial zones).

There is also the question of transparency...

@puzzled

Food + Late Stage Capitalism 

@msh @puzzled Can't thr government do an inquiry to ensure everything is proper, lest they be dissolved or fined?

Food + Late Stage Capitalism 

@Lofenyy @puzzled Health Services has inspected and passed all the kitchens they're aware of. It appears they apply as "catering services" and the gov't wasn't fully aware of the nature of the operations. At least it doesn't appear to be a health risk.

I don't like when regulation runs amok, but I especially don't like when regulation doesn't apply evenly. They are posing as small catering operations to dodge rules that restaurants and food trucks must follow.

Food + Late Stage Capitalism 

@msh @puzzled Ouch. At least the government is now aware? Hopefully the government will do the "right thing", whatever it may be?

Food + Late Stage Capitalism 

@Lofenyy @msh I hope so. So many unintended consequences from Uber, SkipTheDishes, Facebook, etc, etc, etc.

Food + Late Stage Capitalism 

@puzzled @Lofenyy the law tends to be reactive rather than proactive.

I think the solution should be simple and straightforward and minimize bureaucracy.

Ghost kitchens aren't catering services. They are akin to food trucks or 'express' fast food takeaway restaurants. Those regulations are in place. The fix then centres on clarifying the legal definition of catering, as well as having to formally register all names they list online as DBA to raise awareness.

Food + Late Stage Capitalism 

@msh @puzzled I agree that their definition, and thus the regulations that they work under need to be defined/redefined. However, what's this about listing names?

Food + Late Stage Capitalism 

@Lofenyy registered businesses (should) have to disclose all the different "Doing Business As" names they operate under. If a mobile kitchen is operating under dozen different names it raises suspicion as to why.

@puzzled

Food + Late Stage Capitalism 

@msh @puzzled They should, but they currently don't have to? I'd be surprised if there wasn't an index somewhere saying which trailers operate under which names.

Food + Late Stage Capitalism 

@Lofenyy @msh I think not. A "trailer" company has customers (the online "restaurants" that place orders for food). Trailer-co's don't have to list their customers (it's proprietary info).(?)

Food + Late Stage Capitalism 

@Lofenyy

...some of these ghost kitchens owned by foreign shell corporations. They often present themselves as local and independent despite this. They also offer the same food in different listings at different prices and rotate through their different "brands" to flout terms of service implement a sort of surge pricing during peak demand.

It all seems sketchy and shitty to me.

@puzzled

Food + Late Stage Capitalism 

@msh @puzzled :oof: I can agree with that. I'm glad I don't use food couriers.

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