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Ghost Kitchens and Restaurant Evolution with Cordia Kitchens’ Peter Klamka

May 25, 2020

Innovator in Hospitality and Restaurants.

Peter Klamka is the Founder of Cordia Kitchens and the Owner of The Blind Pig.

Cordia Kitchens focuses is on the emerging field ghost kitchens. They seek to build its business by meeting consumer demand for unique on premise dining and off premise convenience. Additionally, Cordia Kitchens seeks out locations suitable for ghost kitchens to meet the growth in app-based ordering.

Learn more about how Cordia Kitchens is leading the way in the next wave of restauranting by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on   Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.

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[toggle title='Read the Transcript' state=‘closed’ icons=‘fontawesome-plus/fontawesome-minus’ margin_top=‘20’ margin_bottom=‘20’]

Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, we're all reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.

On with us right now. We've got Peter Klamka, Peter, you are the owner of The Blind Pig restaurant in Las Vegas and you're the founder of Cordia Kitchens and we're going to talk about the restaurant industry and how you are a part of you know, as Wayne Gretzky would say is skating to where the puck will be a bit of the pucks already on its way there and you're taking advantage of trends. And I this is gonna be a fascinating conversation because I'm, I'm really excited to see where we go over the next five to 10 years in the restaurant industry because you know better than I do. The registered restaurant industry is evolving quite a bit and quite quite quickly too.

It's changing very rapidly were sort of, I think, at the early stages of what I would call restaurant Apocalypse, oh, Amazon is taking away the malls. And we're seeing the delivery services cause restaurants to adapt and change. The customer doesn't want to come inside. They want to chop off on their couch.

What Yeah, explain a little bit more about what's going on with consumers.

So consumers are looking for convenience. And there's two groups I think the younger generation anybody under 40 they want to stay home, stream Netflix, play video games and hang out with the friends. There's no interest in Go into the restaurant anymore. There's no interest in hanging out at a restaurant. Older people 40 and up, they're just too tired. They've got obligations and it's too easy. Open up the phone, and there's the menu and order it and in 30 to 40 minutes, someone's going to drop off a bag with hamburgers in it. Hmm.

All right. So change what our smart restaurant tour is doing about this.

So if you can sell your restaurant, you sell it quickly. You can't sell your restaurant you have to adapt and the way to adapt is to incorporate delivery and incorporate convenience into your customers and understand that your customers aren't necessarily walking in the front door anymore and staying for 3040 an hour at a time and watering. They're ordering at home and they want you restaurant quality food brought to their living room, their TV room or the kitchen. And that's what you're doing now is a restaurant tour.

You know, it's interesting, you know, and you're absolutely right, like all three of my kids. So they're 2016 and 14. And they don't like going to restaurants they'd rather again, they'd rather just do stuff, you know, do whatever they're doing. And, you know, my youngest in fact, so he's 14, and he had helped out with, so we had all kind of like, cleaned out the garage. It was a big jobs like three hours long and say, Okay, great. We'll take you guys anywhere you want to eat. And my youngest, then both my young, my younger two were like, I don't want to go anywhere and eat. But we say, Well, how about we have, you know, he said, Well, I want Uber Eats to bring me Chipotle. Like, you don't want to go to Chipotle. He's like, No, I want to stay here. I'm like, I want to do my stuff. And so that was like his greatest thrill. So sure enough, you know, big boy gets to order his own Uber Eats You know, it gets it's the greatest thing and I'm like, to me, it's like, I don't know it's that

special But okay, if you really like it. That's cool. a whole generation is out there with their smartphones, thinking that that's where food comes from. It comes from the app not from the restaurant, not only better.

So talk to me about, about Korea and the concept of ghost kitchens.

So owning a restaurant in literally in the shadow of the Las Vegas Strip across the street from the area across the street from the Bellagio. And we serve as tourists, business people and locals. And we were noticing, especially on weekends, that customers were ordering more. Some of it was our same customers. Some of it were people experimenting, and some of it was just a combination. And so we were saying, okay, there's definitely an interest in this delivery concept. Some people had never heard of the restaurant, but we were just the closest ones to their hotel and could deliver it quicker, right. It was convenience. It was Oh, I'm starving because I flew in last night and or overnight and I just want my food now I don't even want to wait for room service. And, you know, my background, I had done a number of branding, celebrity licensing deals. And lots of people want to open a restaurant, some people have no background decide to buy a restaurant. And with that, you get all of the difficulty of the build out the fixtures, the person, the labor, the glasses, all of that, right, you now in the current world, just like you don't need to buy a medallion in New York City to become a taxi driver anymore. You can open your own restaurant, you could have Josh's restaurant tomorrow for less than $50,000 using infrastructure we provide. I have staff, I have chefs, I have all of the supplier relationships come in with your recipes, sign up with Uber Eats promote to your audience and your followers. You're now in the restaurant business. Wow. Okay,

again, let me just so because you went through that so quickly, just what this model is and how powerful this concept is, if your dream is to open a restaurant and you want to get in so you can get on everybody's phones and say, I am you know, this is the Josh Elledge restaurant. And I do like, you know, I am a connoisseur of fine oatmeal, or whatever it is, right? And I can go into your kitchen and basically operate from there and be listed indexed. And Uber Eats the grub hubs and all these other ones, right. And someone could say, Wow, that sounds cool. Click order and bam, because am I, is it kind of like a, you know, like a co working space almost, or how does that so there's, there's a couple

of ways to do it. But yes, there's a co working space. You can just rent the space and look around. We've had famous chefs come and say, hey, I want to break into the Las Vegas market and you know, it's three to $5 million and a waiting list to open up a restaurant in Las Vegas. You can take your chef your your recipes, you can take your brand and your followers and you're a lot better off spending the money on advertising than you are on tables, chairs and high rent. I mean, if it protects your downside, if it doesn't work, your downside is minimal compared to I personally guaranteed at least in a high rent district.

No kidding, no kidding, especially when we consider where trends are Anyway, you know, especially if you're, you know, you know, you have you have a son and he you know, you were telling me a story before this about you know how he was at a who's a practice right you

didn't like the food that they were serving a sports camp and so he ordered his own. I ordered his own food to they're using free

So this is a this is really exciting and I think for someone who wants to be a part of a trend, what a great way to share the risks and co Lisa spaces or you know, just, you know, again, kind of this co working space as opposed to or you know, the risk of starting their own kitchen. So you still have to buy all this stuff all the back end stuff all the kitchen floor, you don't even have to do that you can just share

and we cut the time off for licensing. We already have the restaurant license, we already have the food service license, so you're not dealing with health department for six months to get a license in certain markets. And the other side of the coin is if you're successful, it's easier to have a brick and mortar relationship because I've sold 200,000 hamburgers in the past month on on an app based service. I have a database now I have an email list. I've given my people coupons or a website or an Instagram and you can take your customers that you've done From the virtual world and go open your dream restaurant if that's truly what you want you test the dream before you test the bank account

to get explained to me then so you're you're doing this you're currently operating out of Vegas is is that in Los Angeles? Wow. Okay. So if you're in Vegas or Los Angeles, you you got to hook up here.

That's true. And and, you know, we've done we'll do deals where if the brand is strong enough, we'll partner with you. If it's interesting or entrepreneurial, we could, you know, we could work out a favorable rent until you get till you get started, right? So it's very early days, it's, you know, 1996 in the internet time for this, knowing that there's a huge shift coming, people are going to keep eating, okay, they're not going to stop eating right. Yeah. And they're gonna keep looking for more conveniences. And if you have a great idea and you have a brand or You have a following or you have something to do, this is your passion. This is a way to go to test it and to see if, hey, this is what this is for me.

And Peter, how are you marketing this idea to potential restaurant tours.

So it's actually come organically. So we have certain relationships already with brands to develop restaurants that we're working on. Word of mouth, hey, there's a pizza parlor that we know that's got too much business on Friday and Saturdays and it affects the counter business. It affects their inside business. Here's the thing, you don't really know where your food is coming from. So it's like oh, that places on Main Street, but really the ghost kitchen is three blocks away. It doesn't really matter. Rest same recipes. In some cases, it's the same people that are preparing it that prepared in the brick and mortar and if you want is the same packaging. I think packaging is where that's easy to differentiate patents. is where it's easy to, you know, to stand out, and especially for a new startup or an entrepreneur or someone like that. Because that's gonna sit in the kitchen for a while. If there's leftovers, it's gonna sit in the refrigerator. Sure.

Right, right. And then if someone does this, like they don't need to be its drivers are all they're all app based on existing networks, right? You don't even have to mess with drivers or any of that stuff. You don't have

to. There's no messing with drivers. There's no hiring anybody. You can do it with your mom. I mean, it literally is the situation where and if it works, right, if it works, you can scale and take it to other cities. If it doesn't work,

you're not bankrupt. Is there a way to gauge whether or not this could be successful based on what you currently see in grubhub and Uber Eats and anybody else out there?

So there's a way to there's a way to get the data to know Okay, Oatmeal is really popular in Des Moines, Iowa, or sausage is really popular in Detroit, Michigan, right so there's a way to get data to help craft your menu and like anything now it's about developing your own audience go find your own audience go develop it whether it's flyers in a parking lot cute Tick Tock videos coupons it and And out of that you can build a basic business to see wow people do love my oatmeal. Wow people love my sausages.

Oh my gosh, yeah, your business. So listen, someone in East Orlando who's listening to this right now get connected here with Peter and convince him to open a location in Orlando. And what I want you to do is open up a keto. A keto friendly menu where you have keto versions of everything else because that's, you know, people who follow that which which I do fairly religiously. You got to make Everything from scratch, and sometimes, you know, or if you go out to eat again, you're pretty limited on what you can have. And so it's really nice to have oh my gosh, that would be a dream come true. And I could order that on the app. Okay. I just gave a million dollar idea to somebody. Oh,

yeah, no, it's there are so specialized diet, we have seen that we've explored kosher diabetes, things like that has to come from a certain kitchen or be prepared a certain way, there's a little bit more risk possible expenses. But it's the great affinity marketing, right? Because there aren't any of these currently. And if you go, you can really do come down to Oh, this is the population we know that this is. This is the amount of keto lovers that you have in this particular city. And you can test out the menu. Again, you can do it fairly inexpensively thanks to the app now, and I say get out of your car and come in my restaurant. I'll take it to your house.

Yeah. So Peter, how'd you get into this?

So I go got into it. I like many decided, oh, I can run the restaurant. Oh, I'm smart enough because I've been ordering restaurant at restaurants for 40 years, I certainly know how to. I'm very handy with the grill in the backyard on the Fourth of July. So definitely I should open up a restaurant in the middle of Las Vegas. So I came from it was a career change. I came from a financial services background in New York City. Change pace, but this restaurant thinking it's really an easy, easy business. And I'll open up a couple of locations around Las Vegas, and I'll franchise it or take it public or do something like that. Restaurants are very, very difficult. Just because it's successful in another business, doesn't mean you can be successful in the restaurant business. So I bought it.

What's the attrition rate for like an independent restaurant? It's it's really high.

I think it's like 85 or 90%. Wow, yeah. So most of its location, right? It's its most of its location. You can't Fix a bad location. And I lucked out in my location. It was right place right time. But I know, you know, I've known 10 people that have started or bought restaurants in bad locations that are gone in the three years that I've been in the business. Yeah. Amazing. can fix it. And just everyone wants Oh, they think it's so easy and fun. And it's, it's difficult and challenging. And the stories the the restaurant stories are our nightmare sometimes. Yeah. But I looked at, okay, what's my asset? My asset is I have this overly large commercial kitchen, I have proximity to a large population center, and I have a certain level of expertise in food preparation, a barrier to entry is a license, and in my case, a favorable long term lease. So how do I maximize what I have at given that people aren't coming in to sit down for a long time? So what do I what how do I maximize that. And I just looked at without the front door. And there were three Uber each drivers there to pick up food that day. And I said, Ah, what if there were 10? Or what if there were 20. And and then then that's my database, right? That's my database of if you give them good food if you give them something in the bag, like a 10% coupon, or something like that, people love that, those little things. And that's how you build the, that's how you build the business. So really, I was just trying to get additional value out of the asset that I already had.

Yeah, yeah. Well, Peter Klamka. You're the owner of The Blind Pig restaurant right there in Las Vegas right next to the ARIA and the Bellagio right in there. And then you're the founder of Georgia kitchens, and the next evolution of the restaurant industry really exciting. So folks can find you. If you go to Georgia kitchens. Let me spell that its C O R D I A Kitchens.com and, and Peter, they can connect with you and your team. And this is going to be really fun to watch what happens over the next five years. With this model I You got me convinced this is really exciting.

Thank you.

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