Wow Bao’s Groundbreaking Dark Kitchen Initiative Surpasses 100 Locations Nationwide In Just Six Months

CHICAGO, Oct. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — As the restaurant industry continues to navigate this challenging time, Wow Bao, the fast-casual Asian concept steaming up bao, potstickers and more, is proud to announce that its groundbreaking Dark Kitchen initiative has surpassed 100 locations nationwide in only a six month time frame, an unprecedented amount for the restaurant industry. The program, developed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic to assist restaurants and increase margins and profits, is now more vital than ever, as it has been a significant way to help restaurants survive this uncertain moment.

“In November 2019, we created a way to help restaurants grow top line sales and bottom line profits,” said Geoff Alexander, Wow Bao President & CEO. “Although we didn’t envision this initiative as a response to the COVID-19 crisis, we are proud to say our Dark Kitchen platform is assisting operators to help pay rent and employ staff in order to survive this difficult time.”

Unlike Ghost Kitchens, which allow restaurants to rent space at larger kitchen facilities, Wow Bao’s model offers brick and mortar restaurants alternative sources of revenue by using their existing kitchen space to prepare Wow Bao’s menu offerings. Items are made and shipped frozen to the participating restaurants, prepared by the restaurant’s kitchen staff and made available to consumers through third-party delivery services including, DoorDash, UberEats, GrubHub, Postmates and Caviar.

The goal of Wow Bao’s Dark Kitchen is for operators to achieve a minimum of $2,000 in weekly sales within the first six weeks of launch. Multiple operating partners have already surpassed $5,000 in weekly sales; generating an annual run rate of $260,000 with a projected bottom line of more than $100,000. Additionally, the Dark Kitchen program revives the supply chain by increasing demand, thereby supporting farmers and food suppliers, as well as the operating restaurants, staff and third-party delivery services in the process.

“When we first started engaging with Wow Bao, our discussions quickly changed from ‘why do we want to do this?’ to ‘why wouldn’t we want to do this?’” said Buster Minshew of MFM Group, LLC. “From the onset, we were impressed with the quality of food and the simplicity of execution. We have looked at other Dark Kitchen concepts, but have not discovered any other that is so simple to get up and running. The initial investment is minimal; there is virtually zero prep required so it requires no additional labor, the training tools make it very easy for our teams to absorb into the operation and the food is fantastic. We are proud to be part of the Wow Bao Dark Kitchen team.”

“The Dark Kitchen program has been a seamless integration into our operations,” says Edmund Woo, Owner of Saskatoon Lodge in Greenville, South Carolina. “I have trained existing employees to handle the production at virtually no incremental cost. The ability to not only continue operating during such a vulnerable time, but to help increase margins, is instrumental to help maintain business.”

Seeing the direct and immediate

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Community garden initiative forms to help alleviate hunger

BARGERSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Johnson County’s wide open farm fields and abundance of local food producers are a testament to its rich agricultural heritage.

Marcia Duke lives that tradition every day. Her family has been farming in the Bargersville area for nine generations. She understands the value of raising your own food.

So her hope is to bring together people with a similar mindset and background to help address one of the county’s most pressing issues — food insecurity.

As difficulty accessing food becomes more prevalent throughout Johnson County, and as more and more people take an interest in local food, a group of like-minded residents are banding together to address a growing problem. The Southside Community Garden Initiative has formed to bring together individuals, farms, organizations and business to help alleviate hunger in the county.

Their vision is to create a large-scale community garden to educate, assist and provide resources to area residents who live in food insecure areas, and then those residents can use the garden’s example to create plots in their own neighborhoods.

“We need to find where these food deserts are, and reach those people who live there,” said Duke, community outreach for the initiative. “Then we can say, we want to come along side of you and help you to produce your own food by creating a garden.”

The organization is holding an informative meeting from 8 to 10 a.m. Sept. 18 as it starts putting ideas into action. The meeting and breakfast is open to the public, though you must RSVP.

The idea for the Southside Community Garden Initiative comes from the Aberdeen Foundation, a community foundation created by Duke Homes to support local projects and initiatives. One of Duke Homes’ key values is, “Loving God and loving others,” and the foundation allows them to better approach that mission.

When the Aberdeen Foundation was formed, the Dukes searched for areas where they could make the most impact.

“We were trying to find out what the needs were in the community, instead of just going out and creating something,” Duke said. “The purpose of the foundation is to help resource food pantries and similar organizations in the community where there is great need.”

Duke, who is branding curator for Duke Homes and coordinator for the Aberdeen Foundation, has a family history rooted in local agriculture. They have farmed in the Center Grove area since the 1800s, and the family still cultivate more than 2,000 acres of land that’s both rented and owned by the family.

Duke Homes’ Aberdeen development, located near Bargersville, is a living community dedicated to wellness, including the creation of agrihood areas. The designated spots inside the neighborhood will allow people hands-on opportunities through a working farm or neighborhood gardens.

Working in food sourcing seemed to be a good fit for the Aberdeen Foundation, Duke said.

“In the spirit of Aberdeen, and being a farm family, we were drawn toward the idea of farming and community gardening,” she said.

Duke joined the

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