Ghost Restaurants are Here and Growing

In the last year, an estimated $863 billion dollars was spent on restaurants across America. To the barrage of options, from Thai to tamales, white tablecloth to hole-in-the-wall, a new contender is establishing itself–the ghost restaurant.

Ghost restaurants do not have places for customers to sit or even pick up food. They are kitchens with online marquees available on meal delivery services like Deliveroo (Europe) and Uber Eats. They are able to cut costs on square footage, waitstaff, and location while reaching the growing number of customers who get food delivered.

Because a Ghost restaurant’s digital brand is not tied to its physical space, it is possible for one kitchen to operate several ghost restaurants simultaneously. Top Round Roast Beef (above), is a San Francisco restaurant that maintains three distinct identities on Uber Eats: ‘Ribbon Fried Chicken’, ‘TR Burger and Wings’ and ‘Ice Cream Custard.’

Why it’s Hot: 

Digital branding and strategy will play a bigger role in the restaurant industry now that the kitchen has been separated from the service experience.

Domino’s v. Disability

In 2016, Guillermo Robles, a visually impaired man, sued Domino’s Pizza because their website and app were not compatible with screen-reading software, making online delivery impossible. Robles’s lawyers argued that this violated the American Disability Act (ADA), which requires that “places of public accommodation” be accessible. After the case was initially dismissed by a district court because of a lack of Justice Department guidelines, a federal appeals court ruled in Robles’s favor.

Now Domino’s is appealing the decision, asking the Supreme Court to decide that it does not have a legal obligation to follow the ADA online. The case pits a company defined by delivery against the very customers who need it most.

Illustration for article titled Domino's Could Fuck Up the Internet for People With Disabilities Because They Won't Just Fix Their Website

Why it’s hot

At stake is the future of user experience. If courts decide that the American Disability Act extends to the internet, then designers may be legally required to accommodate all users on all projects that accommodate the public.

See the full Gizmodo article here.

Finding Home Outside of the Home

IKEA recently published their annual Life at Home report for research done in 2018. The study, in its 5th year, is extensive, reaching 22,000 people across 22 countries. The goal is to better understand how people actually use and see their homes in today’s changing world.

This year IKEA found a shift. In 2016, 20% of survey respondents felt most at home somewhere besides the place where they live. In 2018 that number increased to 29% for people who live outside of cities and 35% for people who live in cities. IKEA identifies 5 needs that contribute to feeling at home: privacy, comfort, ownership, security, and belonging. The suggestion is that a growing number of people are satisfying these basic needs elsewhere.

Why it’s Hot

Increase in population, urbanization, and economic stratification mean less living space for individuals and families. When the basic needs of feeling at home are not met where people live, people will search elsewhere. Brands and governments will be asked to respond.