As we enter what is truly the golden age of the Ghost Kitchen, a New York City duo has collaborated to bring a truly unique solution to the marketplace. While most Ghost kitchens offer a diversity of fare from Pizza to Mexican, Nimbus has taken a very different approach.
The Lower East Side facility combines the best of a retail driven operation with an ode to the food entrepreneur that has an eye on creating the industry’s next “Cronut”. The Nimbus footprint includes 10 individual commercial licensed kitchens for rent on an hourly, monthly, or yearly-basis. Each have been equipped to serve as a commissary/shared kitchen or ghost/cloud kitchen.
As with everything from Post-It notes to Peloton bikes, necessity was the mother of invention. Camilla Opperman was looking for a home for her food start up. Disappointed by a lack of options and resources, but determined, Opperman switched gears and laid the foundation for what would soon become a new business plan for Nimbus Kitchen.
“I realized this was a massive pain point in the industry and that everyone was facing this problem of finding affordable and flexible kitchen spaces,” noted Opperman. “I think that has become even more apparent during COVID. People are really hesitant to commit to long term leases or building out their spaces because this industry has been hit so hard.”
In her search to create the business and the space, Opperman met Samantha Slager. The former retail executive brought marketing expertise to what has become a partnership in the molding and launching of Nimbus.
With an eye towards life after COVID, the space is complete with a front-of-house that features a beautiful studio kitchen and event/gathering space. “Our goal to provide the perfect environment for our tenants to host tastings to showcasing their food to potential customers and create video/promotional content,” Slager added.
In addition to the Studio Kitchen, Nimbus offers two prep-only kitchens, three shift-kitchens and four full-time ghost kitchens. In collaboration with Singer/M. Tucker, each of the kitchens features fully equipped stations. The Paterson NJ based M. Tucker is known for both the highest quality design and equipment selection.
The M. Tucker spec included Globe fryers to Southbend Ovens and Blodgett convection ovens. The existing space was already graced with a quality TAFCO walk-in box. “We put a great deal of time and effort prior to the Pandemic, to make sure that we had created a safe environment for each of our companies,” Opperman continued.
The design was also created with an eye towards the industry’s latest technology. “Something that’s unique about our model is that people are operating on pretty tight shifts. If someone comes in for 4 hours, they don’t have the luxury of waiting around for their food to cool,” said Opperman. “The blast chiller was a great solution for those businesses who are working on a tighter timeline to be more efficient.”
The duo’s vision also includes a nod to retail in which Takeout and delivery can be easily accommodated. Nimbus Kitchen is dedicated to opening ground floor spaces, where customers can see the kitchens from the street, giving operators more exposure and yes, plenty of natural light.
Nimbus sees the growth of Takeout and Delivery during the Pandemic as something that is here to stay. With an eye towards that, the Opperman/Slager duo has designed the Nimbus facility with that in mind. “We eliminate the need for delivery drivers to go to five different restaurants to pick up five different meals to deliver. Our facility also enables a major national chain to run a pilot program in Manhattan to track the launch of their brand without the costly overhead,” Slager added. “We are committed to the addition of hot and cold food lockers to help our tenants maximize their takeout and delivery efficiency.”
Nimbus envisions extensive growth. “Our goal is to open at least 10 facilities in the New York City area in the next 2 to 3 years,” Opperman concluded. “Long term, we see 100 facilities by 2030 in every major metropolitan market.”