The city calls time on ghost kitchens and supermarkets

The next meeting by the Full Council is set to approve the new special plan for activities linked to home deliveries, putting an end to ghost kitchens and ghost supermarkets in the city. The plan states that so-called ghost supermarkets must be reconverted, that ghost kitchens may only be set up in industrial areas well away from housing, and that restaurants offering home deliveries must request a licence and comply with certain conditions. The goal is to protect local commerce and community life.

13/01/2023 14:21 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

New businesses that sprang up during the pandemic without any legal framework to regulate them are not open to the public and generate a significant movement of delivery riders in the immediate vicinity. Their proliferation has prompted rejection from local people and tensions owing to mobility and the intensive use of public space, as well as other resulting issues such as noise and smells.

Approval was given in March 2021 to suspend licences linked to macro kitchens and move towards a new regulation, initially approved through the usage plan a year later.

After including improvements put forward through a participatory process and discussions with groups, final approval will now be given with the goal of balancing the uses of urban spaces, ensuring a sustainable model for commerce and making economic activities compatible with people’s everyday life and the right to housing. The new regulation sets out that:

    • ghost supermarkets (storage facilities with home deliveries) are completely banned. Establishments of this type which have been operating will be able to be reconverted for other permitted activities, namely food stores without home deliveries or supermarkets open to the public.
    • ghost kitchens are not allowed in Barcelona’s neighbourhoods, with the exception of those located in the Zona Franca industrial area, with a maximum of one establishment per radial area of 400 m (equivalent to three blocks in L’Eixample). In addition, to prevent establishments which prepare ready-made dishes turning into undercover ghost kitchens, conditions are established relating to density and maximum surface areas for this type of activity.

The plan also provides order for home delivery activities and means restaurants delivering food to people at home need a specific licence. These businesses must devote at least 40% of their premises for use by the public and allow delivery riders access to the establishment, reserving a waiting area and guaranteeing they can use the toilets.