The landlord of The Griffins Head in Huncoat has explained why the business has resorted to using virtual kitchens - a recent phenomenon in the takeaway industry - to make ends meet.

Three takeaways - The Hangry Burger, Texas Mess Burger, and The Burger District - on Deliveroo appear to be located at the pub in Burnley Road, Huncoat.

This left many people confused in a local Hyndburn Facebook group, with residents stating they had never seen any of those three businesses in the area.

Lee Wright, landlord and chef at The Griffins Head, explained the takeaways are in fact ‘virtual kitchens’ operating out of the pub, and despite concerns arising over the use of virtual kitchens, “there is nothing untoward about it”.

A virtual kitchen, also known as ‘dark kitchen’, is when a new food brand operates out of an existing eatery and uses the restaurant’s staff and resources.

Pubs and restaurants can pay a company for a ‘white label brand’, which is essentially a ready to go food brand that comes with a name, photography, and a menu, and is available for virtual delivery.

Lee said: “The three brands are being cooked in Griffins Head kitchen.

"It’s purely marketing and I’m using a virtual reputable brand.”

Although the term is used interchangeably, a ‘ghost kitchen’ is when a brand operates out of a mobile kitchen with no public seating or frontage and exists purely to fulfil orders on apps which is not what The Griffins Head is doing.

Lee continued: “There is a clamping down on some of these ghost kitchens but that’s for the unscrupulous traders who are setting up in mobile kitchens and firing out takeaways but you get that in any trade.”

Explaining why he decided to use virtual brands instead of putting The Griffins Head on Deliveroo, Lee said: “People are buying food differently now.

"The takeaway market has taken off since the pandemic and customers just aren’t coming out as often as we would like so we’re just diversifying.

“I only took this place a year ago and with the cost-of-living crisis, cost of energy, food, staff wages going up dramatically, and not enough people going out to eat to keep businesses busy, I had to do something to keep this business afloat.

“We are having to do things that, traditionally, we wouldn’t have to do because the footfall just isn’t enough, we’re doing this out of necessity.

“One minute you’re busy, and the next you just can’t make it. We don’t want to have to be another pub to shut down.”