Photograph courtesy of Reef Technology

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Some midsize chains are betting big on ghost kitchens. Last week, Nathan’s Famous and Saladworks announced plans that could roughly double their U.S. footprints via the off-premise-only route.

Hot dog chain Nathan’s said it will add 60 outposts in the U.S. and 40 in Canada—mostly in Walmart stores—under an agreement with Ghost Kitchen Brands. As of February, it had already opened 100 virtual, off-premise-only locations (and counting) via partnerships with Reef Kitchens, Franklin Junction and independent restaurants. If all goes to plan, its virtual footprint could match the 224 traditional U.S. locations it had in 2020, according to Technomic.

Canada-based Ghost Kitchen Brands focuses in particular on brands that “maybe…

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