When the AMP food hall opens at the 16 Tech Innovation District, it will make way for a new program focused on empowering minority food entrepreneurs – the Melon Kitchen Food Entrepreneurship Accelerator.
The new initiative will provide training, licensing and space to five to seven virtual restaurants affectionately known as “ghost kitchens.”
Ghost kitchens are delivery and carryout-focused concepts, trending across the country due to their cost effective nature. Ghost kitchens reduce many of the traditional restaurant expenses like labor and real estate.
They have also been increasingly popular amid the coronavirus pandemic with restaurants nationwide being forced to close their dining areas. Restaurant Business Online claims that “ghost kitchens are here to stay.”
Local nonprofit Be Nimble Foundation, who’s primary focus is diversity and inclusion in tech, launched the accelerator following being awarded a 16 Tech Community Investment Fund grant for $40,000.
While the Melon Kitchen Food Entrepreneurship Accelerator has been in development for a couple years, Be Nimble co-founder Kelli Jones and program director Jazmine Long both have eluded to motivations bought on by the pandemic and its impact on both black-owned restaurants — along with those who were unable to shift to delivery & carryout options.
The AMP, which will also a host a food hall, brewery and event space, is expected to open in March 2021.