In Cleveland, a ghost kitchen called Sora launched in August with a sushi box offering.
"This allows us to fine-tune the product, make it as best as we can," owner Fabio Salerno said. "This seemed like a natural fix for us to do a really high-end item without having to do a full-scale restaurant."
Sora is a joint venture for Salerno with partners Kevin Wang, owner of Akatsuki LLC, and Kumar Arora, CEO of Arora Ventures.
Salerno told FOX Business that Sora began as a pop-up, but the pandemic inspired a takeout-only version of the restaurant.
"When COVID happened, everybody who stayed open and was able to continue to function was looking at their carryout programs," he said.
For now, Salerno runs Sora out of his Italian eatery, Lago East Bank. He said there are plans to bring Sora to different cities once the menu is perfected.
The ghost kitchen model isn't a new invention, but it has thrived during the pandemic. Euromonitor, a market research firm, estimates the global market for ghost kitchens could surpass $1 trillion by 2030.
"From the consumer perspective, there’s really nothing more convenient," said Hudson Riehle, head of research at the National Restaurant Association. "The industry faced exceptionally hard conditions in terms of closures, but now, it [ghost kitchens] is another avenue of growth and sales."
Ghost kitchen brands, like Chicago-based Wow Bao, boast more than 350 takeout-only locations across the U.S. This fall, grocery stores like Walmart and Kroger have announced the launch of ghost kitchen partnerships.
The Associated Press reports that Uber Eats has more than 10,000 delivery-only restaurants on its platform, which is up from just 3,000 in 2019. These restaurants tend to have more focused menus than the traditional restaurants they borrow kitchen space from.