Tampa Bay has a good amount of virtual restaurants, or ghost kitchens, places that allow grub-slingers to focus primarily on deliveries. Back in August, the Times reported that about 50 virtual restaurants in the area were on the UberEats app.
Frenchy’s Restaurants will tap into the trend in its own way this spring, when Frenchy’s To Go is slated to roll out in Clearwater. According to a news release, the popular family of Pinellas County eateries plans to convert an old Chick-fil-A into a “hybrid” ghost kitchen serving Frenchy’s specialties like grouper sandwiches and garlic crab fries.
Frenchy’s considers the facility at 26145 U.S. 19 N a hybrid because it will accommodate not just deliveries, but walkup and carryout orders, too.
Customers will place orders by phone, through the Frenchy’s website or through multiple third-party online food delivery partners. If they opt for delivery, their bites will be transported by drivers with Frenchy’s To Go and the delivery partners. If they don’t, they can pick up their orders and take them home, or chow down at one of the tables on-site.
In the release, Frenchy’s CEO Pamela Ball said ghost kitchens are “the future of the restaurant industry.”
Founder Michael “Frenchy” Preston added: “We take a lot of pride in our history and the quality of our food. To venture into this market while meeting the expectations built into our brand, it has to be done right.”
Delivery will begin first, and the carryout and walkup options should follow not long after.
Started with Clearwater Beach mainstay Frenchy’s Original Cafe in 1981, Frenchy’s has since opened three more restaurants in Clearwater and another in Dunedin. The popular local brand is also behind Frenchy’s Stone Crab Company and Frenchy’s Seafood Company, plus a gift shop and a 15-unit motel.