fresh no ads
Ghost Month: Pandemic gives rise to 'ghost kitchens' |

Food and Leisure

Ghost Month: Pandemic gives rise to 'ghost kitchens'

Jan Milo Severo -
Ghost Month: Pandemic gives rise to 'ghost kitchens'
Illo's Party Trays specialties / Jan Milo Severo

MANILA, Philippines — A ghost kitchen, also known as a delivery-only restaurant, has become one of the most sought-after food trends during the pandemic.

According to Cloud Kitchens, a one-stop online shop for ghost kitchens, ghost kitchens are also known as "cloud kitchens" and they are rising in popularity because they are a lower cost alternative to operating a traditional restaurant. They are also focused on delivery, which has reportedly grown to up to 300% faster than dine-in establishments since the pandemic bagan last year.

Ashley Colpaart, in The Food Corridor, offered an explanation on why cloud kitchens were called as such: "These days, we store our photos, stream our movies, and even run our businesses in the cloud. And more and more often, whether we realize it or not, it’s also where we’re ordering our food."

According to her, cloud kitchens are "commercial facilities purpose-built to produce food specifically for delivery. These commissary kitchens are sometimes also known as ghost kitchens, shared kitchens, or virtual kitchens with the delivery-only food brands operating within them called virtual restaurants."

While the concept is not new, said Colpaart, as Chinese restaurants and the pizza industry have been there for decades optimizing delivery, a delivery-only model food business, she noted, has only been made possible recently due to the needs of the times and technological advancement.

In the Philippines, Illo’s Party Trays is among the ghost kitchens making their presence felt during the pandemic.

In an exclusive interview with, the company's Business Development director, Mark Anthony Agapito, shared how their business survived despite the pandemic. 

“Like all businesses during the pandemic, we had our fair share of challenges. However, instead of looking at it as a crisis, we turned this as an opportunity through innovation, passion and persistence. Despite the lockdown, we remained to be operational. We did not stop even for a day,” Agapito said.  

“Our persistence is anchored on our desire to bring sense of normalcy, bridge the gap through food and allow families to celebrate in the normal. People were ordering online since they cannot go out to eat."

Since mobility is a great challenge during the pandemic, Agapito said his brand conceptualized signature elements to make them standout from other food businesses.

“We introduced Gourmet Party Boxes for virtual parties, which serve hotel quality food in a box delivered to our clients who are working from home. Through our ‘Celebrate at Home’ packages, Illo’s brings the celebration right into their homes with our signature gourmet dishes complete with balloons and banners. The demand for this experience and food quality has enabled Illo’s to help several people who have been displaced from their jobs. While the effect of the pandemic for other industries have been severe, we have been blessed to bless other people with opportunities,” he said.  

“The rave about the quality of our food sprouted from one word to the other and our following exponentially grew beyond our expectations – and the rest, they say, is history. Our ghost kitchen business was our redemption, and now has a combined following of 400K across all their social media platforms. We ended our first year of operations serving 5,000 families. Halfway through the year, we are grateful to dine at home and celebrate with 13,300 families."

When asked what are their specialties, Agapito said: “Our bestsellers include Chicken Galantine, Lasagna, Mozarella Meatballs Pasta, Chef N’ Beef Salpicao, Kare Kare ni Lola Remy, Crispy Pork Binagoongan, Ribs Bicol Express, 40 Cloves of Garlic Chicken, Singaporean Chili Prawns, Baked Salmon Formage, Seafood Paella, Paella Negra, and Bagnet Paella. For desserts, the heavy favorites are Dark Chocolate Mousse, Strawberry Shortcake, Eggnog Flan Cake, Halaya Cream Rolls and Alcapone Cinammon Rolls.” 

According to Agapito, celebrities such as Claudine Baretto, Ruffa Gutierrez, Marian Rivera, Karen Davila, Yam Concepcion, Doug Kramer and family, Jessa Zaragosa, Giselle Sanchez, Ara Mina, Vina Morales, Isabel Oli, Regine Tolentino, Carmina Villaroel, Diane Medina, Liz Uy, Tim Yap and JM De Guzman, are some of the stars who are their regular customers. 



“Our growing reputation as a lifestyle party trays business coupled with our resounding buzz all over social media has also allowed us to penetrate the showbiz niche. Artists and showbiz personalities have expressed their seal of approval for the brand, elevating Illo’s to become, undisputedly, the Party Trays of the Stars. We would like to make mention of Ms. Patty Laurel, who is the very first influencer who trusted and tried our dishes,” he said. 

The ghost kitchen has no physical store but they have flagship commissaries located in Paranaque and Greenhills, where patrons can pickup their orders. The company also has its own delivery fleet that can accommodate orders within Metro Manila and nearby cities and provinces such as Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, Marikina, Bulacan and some parts of Pampanga. 

vuukle comment


Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with