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.”

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Duos Kitchen locations close for good

Indianapolis has lost more restaurants with the closing of a popular healthier restaurant known for its bowls.

Indianapolis restaurants that permanently closed due to the pandemic

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Duos Kitchen at 2960 N. Meridian St. as well as locations at Eskenazi Health and City Market closed permanently after lunch on Friday, according to a Facebook posting on the Duos Facebook page.

Duos Kitchen had been operating through carryout and delivery-only during lunch hours since the spring,

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The City Market and Eskenazi Health locations closed early in the pandemic, but the Eskenazi Health shop reopened Aug. 26.

Duos, owned by Becky and David Hostetter and John Garnier, said it had watched the stream of recent coronavirus-related restaurant closings, hoping to avoid joining.

“But we’ve finally had to face the reality that because of the pandemic and our inept government, staying open is no longer an option,” the posting said.

“We’re devastated. We’re also angry, on our own behalf and for the many more small businesses who aren’t going to survive into a post-pandemic world.”

Duos’ exit is the latest in hard news for the area’s culinary scene.

Broad Ripple’s Seraphim Asian Grill, open only since June, closed Tuesday in hopes of returning next spring. And many restaurants in Indiana reported they don’t expect to continue operating beyond the next six months. 

Contact IndyStar reporter Cheryl V. Jackson at [email protected] or 317-444-6264. Follow her on Twitter: @cherylvjackson.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Duos Kitchen locations close for good

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California Pizza Kitchen Opens in Three New Locations Across the Globe

The global restaurant brand brings its signature California-style pizzas to new locations in the Philippines, South Korea and Salt Lake City

California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) today announced the openings of restaurants in three global markets: Manila, Philippines; Daegu, South Korea and Salt Lake City. The opening of these new franchise locations marks the beginning of CPK’s emergence from its restructuring process, charting the way for an even stronger future for the brand. In addition to these three new openings, CPK is planning three additional new international locations that are already under construction.

The new franchise locations are located at the Evia Mall in Manila, Philippines; Daegu Mall in Daegu, South Korea and the Salt Lake City Airport. The new restaurants in Manila and Daegu will be the 5th and 7th location in the Philippines and South Korea respectively, and are evidence of the company’s strategic expansion in growing markets and its business and financial health. The initial openings for all three locations were met with great success.

“At CPK, we take great pride in sharing our passion for California-style pizza, fresh and creative ingredients and best-in-class hospitality with our guests whether they are on the road, or overseas,” said Giorgio Minardi, Executive Vice President of Global Development & Franchise Operations at CPK. “This has been truly an unprecedented year due to COVID-19 headwinds, but these openings and future construction highlight the confidence we and our partners have in the strength of the brand and its restructuring plan.”

The new Philippines location is now open at the Evia Mall after government officials eased COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. As with all CPK locations, all the new restaurants are implementing rigorous cleaning and safety measures and customers can enjoy CPK’s innovative, California cuisine with complete peace of mind and security.

“We’re very proud to partner with Pie Co., Seoulland and HMSHost and expand our franchise relationships in these three CPK Markets. It takes a lot of trust, passion and strength during these times to make such an investment and these openings are a clear indication of that commitment,” Minardi continued.

Founded in Beverly Hills, Calif. in 1985, CPK is celebrating 35 years of colliding unexpected flavors and high-quality ingredients to create uniquely craveable dishes, like the Original BBQ Chicken Pizza, a #1 global seller, and CPK’s industry-first, vegetable-powered Cauliflower Pizza Crust. From artisan, California-style pizzas, to creative salads, better-for-you options like Power Bowls and Cedar Plank Salmon, and handcrafted beverages made with fresh, globally inspired ingredients, CPK is known for culinary innovations that lead the trends, served in a relaxed yet vibrant setting anchored by CPK’s hearth pizza oven and open kitchen, where guests can watch their meals prepared from scratch.

CPK’s global footprint includes more than 200 restaurants in 8 countries and U.S. territories, which includes 40 international franchise locations as well as 16 domestic franchise locations in airports, casinos and stadiums throughout the United States.

About California Pizza Kitchen

In 1985, California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) opened

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The Secret Garden classic has been remade and can explore the stunning film locations

For over a century, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden — about Mary Lennox, an orphan sent to live with her uncle, only to find a magical garden on his estate — has enchanted children. 

The latest film version with Colin Firth and Julie Walters will wow a new generation. 

Director Marc Munden used some of Britain’s idyllic locations to create a magical world. 

And you can visit them, too . . . 

The Laburnum Arch in Bodnant Garden, North Wales. The vibrant yellow flowers usually attract 50,000 visitors when they bloom for just three weeks each spring

The Laburnum Arch in Bodnant Garden, North Wales. The vibrant yellow flowers usually attract 50,000 visitors when they bloom for just three weeks each spring

A glorious arch of golden laburnum

Bodnant Garden, North Wales

Julie Walters and Colin Firth walk under a stunning arch of flowering laburnum in this scene filmed at Bodnant Garden.

Described by the National Trust as ‘the height of spring’, the Laburnum Arch is 180ft long and was created in 1880.

Julie Walters and Colin Firth walk under a stunning arch of flowering laburnum in this scene for The Secret Garden (2020) filmed at Bodnant Garden

Julie Walters and Colin Firth walk under a stunning arch of flowering laburnum in this scene for The Secret Garden (2020) filmed at Bodnant Garden

The vibrant yellow flowers usually attract 50,000 visitors when they bloom for just three weeks each spring. 

So while you will have to wait to see the arch in its full glory, the rest of the garden — featuring manicured lawns, flower-filled terraces, meadows and water gardens — is currently open, with adult tickets for £8 (half-price for children).

  • 01492 650460; nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden
Built in 1758, Helmsley Walled Garden in North Yorkshire has a starring role in the new film

Built in 1758, Helmsley Walled Garden in North Yorkshire has a starring role in the new film

The big star of the show

Helmsley Walled Garden, North Yorkshire

Nestled at the foot of the North York Moors and built in 1758, the walled garden has a starring role in the new film. 

It was originally designed to provide vegetables, fruit and flowers to the Feversham family, who lived at nearby Duncombe Park (which appears as Misselthwaite Manor in the film). 

It was originally designed to provide vegetables, fruit and flowers to the Feversham family, who lived at nearby Duncombe Park (which appears as Misselthwaite Manor in the film). Pictured: Filming at Helmsley Walled garden for The Secret Garden

It was originally designed to provide vegetables, fruit and flowers to the Feversham family, who lived at nearby Duncombe Park (which appears as Misselthwaite Manor in the film). Pictured: Filming at Helmsley Walled garden for The Secret Garden

Tickets for the garden cost from £7, children go free. It’s open from Thursday to Sunday.

  • 01439 772314; helmsley walledgarden.org.uk
Triffid-like Elephant’s Rhubarb plants tower over two children at Trebah Gardens, Cornwall

Triffid-like Elephant’s Rhubarb plants tower over two children at Trebah Gardens, Cornwall

Fun among giant triffids 

Trebah Gardens, Cornwall 

Actress Dixie Egerickx (who plays Mary Lennox) peers through the twilight world of Gunnera Passage at Trebah Gardens.

Actress Dixie Egerickx (who plays Mary Lennox) peers through the twilight world of Gunnera Passage at Trebah Gardens

Actress Dixie Egerickx (who plays Mary Lennox) peers through the twilight world of Gunnera Passage at Trebah Gardens

Its huge, Triffid-like Elephant’s Rhubarb plants are native to the mountains of south-east Brazil, with leaves up to 2.5m wide and stems as thick as a man’s wrist. 

Open Saturdays to Wednesdays, tickets from £11.

  • 01326 252200; trebahgarden.co.uk
Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire was established by monks almost 900 years ago

Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire was established by monks almost 900 years ago

Today, the atmospheric ruins provide the backdrop to elegant water gardens with mirror-like lakes and ponds. Pictured: A still from the latest film version of The Secret Garden

Today, the atmospheric ruins provide the backdrop to elegant water gardens with mirror-like lakes and ponds. Pictured: A still from

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