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Hover is a Toronto-based company facilitating the operation of ghost kitchens by partnering with local chefs and restauranteurs to create food brands across the city.
A ghost kitchen is where food is professionally prepared and cooked specifically for delivery and pick up. Not only that, multiple vendors can run out of a single ghost kitchen, meaning it's an extremely efficient way for smaller and online-only concept restaurants to operate.
"We really got going last spring, right when the first lockdown started," said Brenden Lee, founder of Hover.
Lee described Hover as a business less focused on finding under-utilized space, which was the original idea behind ghost kitchens, and more about kick-starting 'digitally native' food brands from the ground up.
"We're working backwards from what's changed about the consumer," said Lee. "How can we make a better, more profitable restaurant model and how can we build something in locations that are both pick up and delivery that are part of the communities that are not these back alley commercial kitchens."
Lee explained that the overarching goal of Hover is to 'empower every localized neighbourhood to deliver great food.' In order to achieve said goal, it was crucial to build a team of people with a range of skills in the restaurant, tech and food delivery industry who strive to create brands that cater to every appetite.
Lee outlined that every Hover brand is "focused on different moods and segments of the consumer's day, so we have Good Burgers, we have Breakfast Club, we have Delores [Tacos], and we've just launched Sunday Chicken this past weekend...all from one kitchen, [with] one set of cooks."
Their existing concepts came to be with the help Chef Andrew Moore, a member of the Hover team. But their main goal is is a work in progress
"[We want to] create some more brands with additional local chefs, and bring them into our locations," said Lee. "We want to build a platform that's kind of a collection of local brands and chefs that serve the best takeout eats."
Lee also emphasized that each of their in-house options have a unique brand identity––Good Burgers is all about everyday comfort and Breakfast Club brings the lost joys of brunch home.
With COVID, there are "more consistent patterns of people ordering food downtown [because] people have the freedom and flexibility," said Lee. To him, this is the most significant change he has noticed in consumer behaviour. Not being able to go to an actual restaurant opens up space for brands to build a distinctive, but exclusively online presence.
You can order Good Burgers, Delores Tacos, Breakfast Club and Sunday Chicken through Uber Eats.