I’ve posted before about “ghost kitchens” — delivery-only restaurants that operate with little more than a range and a refrigerator. But, until today, I hadn’t seen what one looks like.
We popped by one of San Francisco’s most prominent ghost kitchen facilities, and Jesus is this place dirty and depressing. Though Business Insider gave 60 Morris a glowing write-up, we found the place looks like a combination of 850 Bryant and the kind of SRO lobby where the check-in counter has bulletproof glass. It is operated by disgraced Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s new venture CloudKitchens, but their $400 million in VC funding from dirty Saudi Arabian money is not evident in the facility’s hand-written signs, bare bones interior, and general below-minimum-wage dystopian chic.
Surely some of the negative impression of this place comes down to the poorly-exposed nighttime cellphone photography in this article. There are no photos of the kitchen; it could be spotless, for all we know.
Yet it is hard to imagine that this is the future of food, where this is a derelict industrial building masquerading as two dozen different restaurants where, inside, workers create meals to be stashed in a locker for an underpaid delivery driver to ferry, at great expense, to its destination. After decades of lame jokes in stand-up comedy routines about the quality of airline food, it sure seems like that shouldn’t be what we aspire toward.