When I asked to hear more pandemic success stories, I only got one response. I don’t think that is for a lack of hopeful stories despite the continuing challenging times, but perhaps those who are thriving don’t want to toot their own horn while others continue to struggle. That’s certainly understandable.
Bitar’s, the iconic Middle Eastern market and eatery in South Philly, is actually riding a wave of stability and even impressive growth at its storefront which has been a neighborhood staple since 1974 on the corner of 10th & Federal.
This is partly due to the core Mediterranean / Middle Eastern grocery component of the business, which has serviced home cooks and famous chefs with special ingredients. Though Amin and Jude Bitar moved the grocery inventory downstairs in recent years to expand in-house dining on the main floor, switching back to a retail store with a busy lunch and early dinner delivery and takeout counter was easy to do.
Additionally, a 3-month-old relationship as a ghost kitchen with Future Foods has pushed the business to new vitality, offering eight new brands for lunch and dinner take-out and delivery.
“The ghost menu identities have pretty much put us back in the black, helping to offset the daily office catering losses,” Amin Bitar told Philly Grub.
Future Foods created the following virtual restaurant concepts which are templated permutations of the same dishes and ingredients executed at Bitar’s: Saint Pita, Beverly Hills Platters, Hummus Hero, Bob’s Kabobs, Taqueria Mediterranea, Fabulous Falafel, and Pangea Banquet.
This model is proving to be successful, with BITAR’s having one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the country across the third party delivery operations.
As vacancies grow and restaurants double down on delivery within their existing four walls, the ghost kitchen model has become increasingly favorable. For businesses like Bitar’s, it will see them through these difficult times while potentially reaching new customers.
I’m really happy to hear that this partnership is working out for a long-time favorite eatery in South Philly. By leveraging new technology, they’re optimistic about survival and hopefully, they’ll be around for many more years to come!
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