b'CONCESSIONSRDU 19largely back-of-house operations. The whole concept of a ghost kitchen is that there really is no front of the house, says Freedman, explaining that technology eliminates the need for typical restaurant personnel such as hosts, servers and cashiers. It is all in the back of the house, with cooks and staff preparing the food and then putting it out for pickup or delivery. So, for an entity that is having trouble finding workers because of the overall labor shortage we have throughout the country, this eliminates the need to find front-of-the-house labor.Because fewer employees are needed, REEF Kitchens and its various concept partners can afford to pay their back-of-the-house employees a bit more, Freedman adds. The ghost kitchen is able to attract workers with competitive wages; we have eliminated the front of the house by using technology; and we have enhanced the guest experience by providing nine different options, he summarizes. Overall, it was a big win.Adjusting for NewCustomer BaseValentina Ellison, senior vice president of Business Development for REEF, is happy to be a part of RDUs win and the overall evolution of ghostVALENTINA ELLISONtheir mobile devices or at kiosks locatedThen COVID happened, and it becamekitchens. near the pickup location at Gate C9.something we thought was even moreWith a 15-year background in airport Unique text codes allow them to openrelevant. concessions, Ellison fully understands specially marked lockers to access theirThe loss of multiple restaurants,why food and beverage operators walked orders. coupled with pervasive labor shortages,away from underperforming locations Ghost kitchensmade the virtual concept extremelywhile the pandemic raged. After all, initial are a concept thatcompellingand strategic.projections suggested that significant air have been in thetraffic was not anticipated to resume for The ghost kitchen became an evenanother seven to eight years. food and beveragemore appealing opportunity to really industry for severalenhance the guest experience byFortunately for all of us, the years, and we hadproviding multiple brands, particularlypassengers did return, and they returned been thinking aboutDAVID FREEDMAN concepts and good options that wea lot faster at a majority of airports, how we might bedidnt already have in our terminal, Ellison says. And this is where REEF able to apply it at RDU to really enhanceadds Freedman. comes in. Customer-facing locations at the overall guest experience, explainsairports such as RDU were built for pre-RDU Senior Vice President and ChiefThe labor advantages come into playCOVID times, because it was all about Revenue Officer David Freedman.because ghost kitchens, by design, arethe business traveler that amounted to AirportImprovement.comNovember | December 2022'