Megan's on Kings Road before the change
November 13, 2023
The explosion in demand for home delivery meals has led to the expansion across London of hidden dark kitchens.
Many people ordering meals through services such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats are not aware that their food may not have come from a restaurant, but instead prepared and cooked in an entirely separate commercial kitchen.
These purpose-built dark kitchens, also called ghost or cloud kitchens, are usually hidden within anonymous industrial settings and accessible only by delivery drivers.
Fulham’s Talina Centre, in Bagley’s Lane is the base for most of our local dark kitchens, with two units already hosting up to 14 kitchens, and delivery bikes constantly entering and leaving.
Bagley’s Lane is an ideal location for these “food production facilities” as it is close to developments such as Imperial Wharf and Chelsea Creek, home to many young professionals who are most likely to use these delivery services.
Dark kitchens are often rented by small companies looking to grow their businesses without the overheads involved in opening a restaurant. However, larger chains such as Pho and Rosa’s Thai, also have their own dark kitchens, which are rented through a specialised division of Deliveroo called Editions.
In the Talina Centre, unit 5 operator One KCN says it offers versatile kitchen spaces which can comfortably accommodate teams of four and can come as either an empty shell or fitted out to the customer’s specification. It already houses several brands including Pasta Evangelists and Heavenly Biryani and says it still has space immediately available to rent.
Unit 20 is run by Foodstars, the largest operator in this field, offering up to eight flexibly sized delivery only kitchens, and housing brands including Yamagoya and Go Kayoodai. As well as providing fully equipped space, it promises support from a team of customer growth specialists who can help to launch marketing campaigns and optimise strategies.
A third unit, number 11, is also aiming to switch to dark kitchens, with an application submitted to H&F Council for a change of use of the existing building from garment production to food production, with the installation of six new kitchens.
Meanwhile a more general application has been submitted to the council by warehousing company GCap Solo to change the use of up to six of the 29 units within the centre from light industrial to food production. This could mean another three units switching to food production, with each unit potentially housing another six to eight kitchens,
A statement supporting the application says the proposed change of use “ will allow the units on the estate to adapt to market needs and opportunities in an increasingly challenging economic environment.”
Referring to the local riverside developments with hundreds of new flats housing future potential customers, the statement adds: “A flexible use serves also to allow the units on the estate to adapt to the needs of an increase in residential density brought about by the local regeneration areas.”
The two applications, which are both currently open for comments, can be seen on H&F Council’s website using reference 2023/02330/FUL and 2023/02158/FUL.
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