‘Dark kitchen’ chain works with local restaurants to sell over food delivery apps

The coronavirus has left many restaurants struggling as the pandemic forced them to temporarily close their doors and still has many operating at a lower capacity than normal.

Owners are looking for ways to bring in more revenue. Fast-casual Asian chain Wow Bao has one idea: open their restaurant inside an existing restaurant as a delivery-only “dark kitchen” eatery.

Wow Bao, which serves up steamed bao, potstickers, dumplings, rice and noodle bowls, announced on Wednesday that it has added 100 locations in just six months by partnering with other restaurants. Its food is offered via third-party delivery services like UberEats, Grubhub, DoorDash, Postmates and Caviar.

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Geoff Alexander, president and CEO of Wow Bao, said the company came up with the partnership plan last November.

“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,” Alexander said in a press release.


Wow Bao isn’t the only “virtual restaurant” to take advantage of the proliferation of meal delivery services during the pandemic. Chuck E. Cheese has been selling pizza under the name Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings on Grubhub. An increasing number of eateries operate “ghost kitchens,” renting out kitchen space to other restaurants or adding other restaurant brands to its offerings for takeout and delivery only. And there are also “cloud kitchens,” which work exclusively with delivery brands.

These kinds of deals aren’t just good for restaurants seeing a slump in business. The brands they work with can use them to test out their products in new markets. The California-based Lemonade Restaurants recently opened its first ghost kitchen in Long Beach, allowing it to expand to the city “in record time and with a very low investment,” co-CEO Anthony Pigliacampo told QSR Magazine.

“In just three months, we moved from site identification to delivering food to guests,” Pigliacampo told QSR. “This would have been impossible with a brick and mortar site.”

Wow Bao said its partnership is different from ghost kitchens because it ships frozen items to its partner restaurants to be prepared by their kitchen staff.


Edmund Woo, the owner of the Saskatoon Lodge in Greenville, S.C., and a Wow Bao partner, said in a written statement that the process of integrating Wow Bao into his kitchen was “seamless.”

“I have trained existing employees to handle the production at virtually no incremental cost,” he said. “The ability to not only continue operating during such a vulnerable time, but to help increase margins, is instrumental to help maintain

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Union Representing Public Works Employees Calls On Mayor, Supes To Address Bathroom Issue


Union leaders representing more than 350 San Francisco Public Works employees are calling on Mayor London Breed and the Board of Supervisors to require the city to provide dedicated restrooms for its workers.

Because DPW workers are tasked with cleaning the city’s streets and often handle biohazards like garbage, urine and feces, union officials said the need for clean bathrooms and handwashing facilities has become urgent amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Back in July, dozens of Public Works employees staged a rally at the department’s Operation Yard, calling for bathrooms and handwashing facilities on the job, alleging the department barred workers from using the operation yard during their lunch breaks.

Although the workers were encouraged by DPW to use the public Pit-Stop toilets, the Laborers’ International Union of North Americas, Local 261 says its workers feel unsafe using those facilities and sharing them with homeless people who, according to union officials, may liken them to police.

But DPW officials said, including the Pit-Stop toilets, workers had a total of 50 facilities throughout the city to choose from. The department also said it provided the workers with hand sanitizer, as well as water and soap to clean up on the job.

Union officials, however, said that’s still not enough.

“How can the city not provide clean, safe, restroom and handwashing facilities? It is inhumane for San Francisco to treat its own employees and citizens this way,” union spokeswoman Theresa Foglio-Ramirez said in a statement Wednesday. “Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, when businesses were open, these employees could more easily find a clean bathroom facility at a restaurant, business, gas station or shop. That is no longer case — and may not be the case for a longtime to come.”

Union leaders allege the workers are being retaliated against because of whistleblowing that led to the federal criminal charges for former DPW Director Mohammed Nuru, who is currently facing jail time over an alleged scheme to bribe a San Francisco International Airport commissioner.

“We believe that this denial of clean, safe bathroom and handwashing facilities is not merely an oversight or penny pinching by public works, but instead is direct retaliation for the Union’s early complaints about corrupt practices in the public works department,” Foglio-Ramirez said. “We were among the first to blow the whistle on now disgraced department head Mohammed Nuru. Our early warnings about abuses and illegal activities played a role in the Department of Justice investigation of illegal City Hall contracts and hiring practices. Instead of being rewarded for bring corruption to light, we are being punished by public works.”

Although union officials said they filed a grievance with the city’s Human Resources Department seven months ago over the bathroom issue, the union said its concerns have gone unheard.

In a letter sent to Breed and the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, union officials asked for immediate action, saying “We demand humane treatment of these employees — our members — who are performing some of the most

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What is shared ownership? How the home buying scheme works

The shared ownership scheme has been extended. Photo: Reuters/Neil Hall
The shared ownership scheme has been extended. Photo: Reuters/Neil Hall

The UK government has announced a shakeup of the shared ownership scheme in England, in a drive to help more households buy their own homes.

Plans unveiled on Tuesday will see more first-time buyers and social housing tenants able to part-buy their homes, as well as a wave of new homes, with some properties available for shared ownership.

The changes affect shared ownership in England, with different rules in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland as housing policy is devolved.

What is shared ownership?

Shared ownership schemes involve buying a share of a property with a mortgage or lump sum, and paying rent for the rest to the owner of the remaining share.

Most shared ownership homes are part-owned by housing associations, but some councils and private developers also run similar schemes.

Around 157,000 households are reported to live in shared ownership homes in England, representing less than 1% of all households.

How is shared ownership changing?

Buyers have to be able to afford at least 25% of a home to be eligible for the scheme in England. The government now plans to reduce the minimum stake to 10%, as the current rules mean even part-ownership remains unaffordable for many households.

Other changes should make it easier for current part-owners to buy more of their homes, in a process known as “staircasing.”

READ MORE: Government spends £12.2bn on up to 180,000 new homes in England

They will be able to buy additional shares in 1% instalments, rather than 10%, and fees will be cut.

New shared owners will also see the landlord cover the cost of repairs and maintenance for the first 10 years.

What are the pros of shared ownership?

Such part-buy, part-rent arrangements make it easier for people to get on the housing ladder, as the deposit and mortgage payments needed are much lower than a standard purchase with a mortgage.

The buyer’s payments every month will include rent and interest fees if they buy with a repayment mortgage, but they will also include repaying the loan—gradually building up their stake in the property. This stake can be increased further by buying additional shares.

READ MORE: Britain warned it’s heading towards a housing bubble

Properties are leasehold so may require the freeholder’s consent for alterations, but buyers are more likely to be able to renovate and make their homes their own than renters.

What are the cons?

Research by House of Commons staff earlier this year noted shared ownership is complex for buyers, lenders and providers to understand.

It also said mortgage availability is “limited,” increasing a part-owner’s stake is costly, and re-sale can be difficult.

Housing charity Shelter says the UK government should prioritise building genuinely affordable social housing, warning many renters have no savings and cannot afford even part-ownership.

Who can apply for shared ownership?

The government rules mean shared ownership is available only for households with a total income under £80,000 a year, or

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The woman behind ‘Trump House’ works to keep Pennsylvania red, one vote at a time

YOUNGSTOWN, Pennsylvania — The morning after the night before, and the line for the Trump House is 75 strong.

Donald Trump posing for the camera

© Provided by Washington Examiner

Most were at the previous night’s rally to see President Trump fly in on Air Force One and are rounding off their visit to this corner of Pennsylvania with pictures in front of the red, white, and blue building, posing for selfies with the 14-foot figure of Trump, and collecting a free hat and yard sign in the crowded interior.

Others will take down a form from the bins on the wall and, with help from owner Leslie Rossi, 49, register to vote for the first time or flip their party allegiance.

She says the enthusiasm reminds her of four years ago, when she realized that Trump was going to beat Hillary Clinton.

“Four years later, this is different,” she said. “What I’m finding is, I’m helping people change their party, register to vote. We have had many people in their 80s, 90s say they have never voted in their life.”

a person holding a sign: Visitors pose for photographs on the front porch of the Trump House in Youngstown, PA. Rob Crilly

© Provided by Washington Examiner
Visitors pose for photographs on the front porch of the Trump House in Youngstown, PA. Rob Crilly

Her anecdotal evidence is borne out by party statistics. Last month, Republicans said they had picked up 165,000 net voters in Pennsylvania, compared with Democrats’ loss of 30,000 since 2016. It still leaves the party trailing by 800,000 registrations, but it gives a sense of the challenge facing Democratic nominee Joe Biden if he is to overturn the 44,000 deficit from 2016.

He must also reckon with the efforts of the tireless Rossi in Youngstown, just down the road from Pittsburgh.

The developer and landlord owns 66 houses. This is the only one with a stars and stripes flag decorated with rifles and handguns on the wall and a lifesize cut-out of Biden emerging from the basement. (“Keep your kids away,” says one of the guides deployed to manage the 1,500 visitors on busy days.)

The idea came to her in 2016, when she was worried the Republican establishment would block Trump’s nomination. He had won the Pennsylvania primary, but that only guaranteed him 17 out of 71 delegates. The rest were unbound.

Three days, $1,000, and one coat of paint later, and the Trump House was finished. Rossi would stand at the roadside, and as drivers pulled in to gawk at its design, she would explain to them that if they wanted Trump to clinch the nomination, they needed to ensure they chose the right delegates for the convention.

“And people wouldn’t even know what a delegate was,” she said.

a man standing in front of a store: A visitor to the Trump House picks out a free T-shirt. Rob Crilly

© Provided by Washington Examiner
A visitor to the Trump House picks out a free T-shirt. Rob Crilly

A steady stream of people interrupt her to ask for photographs. One man has registered to vote for the first time. Another is clutching a new yard sign.

“That’s where it started, but that’s not where it ended,” continued the mother of eight.

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Creating a Handicap Accessible Kitchen That Works!

How do you create a handicap accessible kitchen that will work for you? Focus on three things. First, focus on accessibility to storage spaces, pantries and cabinets. Second, prioritize wheelchair mobility. Space in front of and alongside appliances is essential. And, third, arrange your work space by coordinating utensils, pull out trash container shelves, frequently used dishes, etc.

Wheelchair accessible roll-under sinks and ovens are also advantageous for long term independent living. Upgrading or simply making a few home modifications may be just what you need to gain mobility, comfort and safety in your home.

Your home modification design should include ample floor space for mobility, ADA handicap accessible kitchen appliance access clearances, accessible cabinet doors, drawers and shelves, and a functional "work triangle". The work triangle refers to the comfortable work space area created between the stove, the refrigerator, and the sink. The sides of the triangle should be greater than four feet and under nine feet, with the outer limits of the triangle at a maximum of 26 feet.

When the design of a spacious and open feeling kitchen area is your design objective, it may be necessary to consider removing or replacing a wall, or moving counters. If your current kitchen design makes you feel like you are restricted or constantly battling with counters and cabinetry, you may want to consider remodeling. Frequently, modifying one aspect of your kitchen can make the kitchen significantly more user-friendly. Changing an island or peninsula counter, or relocating an appliance, can make all the difference.

Does your home have a "zero-step entry" – one entry point with a flat threshold, and is easy to walk through? Every home should have at least one zero-step entry for those grand kids taking their first steps, and for the visiting family member who may be using a cane or a walker, or recovering from an illness. Is it difficult getting groceries in from the car? Possibly, a small ramp and cart would be useful between the garage and the kitchen to make it easier to bring in packages.

If you need assistance designing your kitchen, you will find a directory of certified aging in place (CAPS) specialists on the NAHB website, or by visiting the Atlanta Home Modifications website on the Internet. Your CAPS specialist will schedule an in-home consultation to observe and evaluate your current living arrangement, and assist you in creating a more pleasant and accessible home.

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