Deliveroo’s ‘Dark kitchens’ are producing food within shipping container like boxes where chefs copy trendy restaurant menus without having to pay for a high street location.
The metal boxes are kitted out with industrial sized kitchen equipment and a couple of chefs which work in each premise. There are 11 sites that are being used by Deliveroo which contain 66 ‘Dark kitchens’. Many of the infrastructures are located in London, however there are some in areas such as Reading and Leeds.
The kitchens which tend to be based within car parks have no windows and create food for companies such as: Gourmet Burger, Franco Manca, MeatLiquor and Motu.
Deliveroo calls the kitchens ‘Rooboxes’ and ‘Deliveroo Editions’, the company secures the locations and then it rents them to restaurants who train staff to work directly within the new premises.
A campaigner against a Roobox in London told The Daily Mail: “We didn’t know it was delivered from a metal box at the back of a warehouse”.
“No doubt it must be very profitable – it does not have to build a restaurant, the staff are all disposable and the customers don’t have a clue what is going on.”
The Guardian managed to interview two chefs that work within the glorified shipping containers and stated that the conditions can either be hot or cold. The heat normally depends on the weather and if they are preparing the food or cooking it. Within one of the kitchens, there is only a small heater fan for cold days and one of the kitchens is fitted with a pizza oven which takes up more than a third of the space and makes the box unbearable hot.
Deliveroo promises on its website “to bring your favourite restaurant directly to your front room”; this clearly isn’t the case as no restaurants are technically built within this new venture for the company.
However, Deliveroo has faced criticism for this ‘Roobox’ scheme as originally the company planned to have 200 ‘Dark kitchens’ on 30 sites across the UK by the end of 2017. This target has been missed and there have been huge amounts of complaints from individuals who accuse Deliveroo of not abiding by the planning rules.
Words by Harry Bourner | Subbed by Etienne Fermie