Maybe your Fourth of July barbecue didn’t go off as planned. Burned, undercooked or dropped on the ground and covered with ants—on some backyard chefs the art of the grill is lost.
There may be hope on the way. Anand Gala, the owner of nine Famous Dave’s franchises, including a location in Gilroy, is developing barbecue kitchens, with no seating areas or bars, that specialize in home delivery or catering via Uber Eats and Amazon Restaurants.
“It’s a commercial kitchen without a dining room attached,” Gala said. “It is one of the many options when we consider how to bring more of the best barbecue to more people.”
What he described as a virtual restaurant, Gala’s kitchens will focus solely on barbecuing— no seats, bar stools, servers, hosts or any other features of sit-down restaurants. Virtual kitchens serve as a central preparation and distribution center that would use a far smaller space than a traditional restaurant. By reducing overhead, Gala hopes to expand the reach of his restaurants into more areas.
“It’s a way we could expand our brand,” Gala said. “A typical full-service restaurant may not work because an area may not have the right density to support a full-service restaurant. It could be a way to test a market with the online delivery, and if it exceeds expectations, we could look into having a full-service restaurant.”
New technologies often disrupt and displace long-standing jobs. Last year in March, Pedro Virgen, owner of Union Taxi Company in Gilroy, said that since the arrival of Uber and Lyft, his company went from having eight cabs and a dozen employees to three cabs and two drivers.
Gala said this won’t happen with his barbecue kitchens.
“We feel that we have the best people, and this does not change that,” Gala said. “We can create more jobs without cannibalizing existing jobs.”
To preserve the barbecue’s quality, said Gala, the faster it gets to customers, the better.
“With barbecue, there is an extensive and careful process of cooking and smoking the meat which can take up to four or 12 hours depending on the protein,” Gala said. “We don’t want there to be a degradation of the product, so we would need to limit the delivery radius, or our customers can pick up their food.”
While Gala works toward perfecting the barbecue elements of the virtual kitchen, his company is also working on a smartphone app.
“We have an app that we will offer soon that would be an extension of our current online ordering system,” Gala said. “We will also join with other delivery platforms like Uber Eats and Amazon Restaurants.”
At this time, Gala does not plan to add alcohol to his delivery plans.
“We hope to come to a conclusion within the next several months,” Gala said when asked when the barbecue would be ready.