University of São Paulo: Coworking space, not licensed as an industrial kitchen, causes inconvenience in the city

With the growth in demand for food delivery services in São Paulo, the “dark kitchens” (ghost kitchens) emerged, a business model that aggregates, in a single property, dozens of kitchens that only serve delivery services. These kitchens have been installed in residential neighborhoods to be close to customers, but they complain of a series of inconveniences, such as noise, bad smell and increased traffic.

The professor of the School of Communications and Arts (ECA) and the Institute of Energy and Environment (IEE) at USP, Pedro Luiz Côrtes, says in an interview with Jornal da USP in the 1st Edition that these enterprises chose to operate exclusively by means of a delivery to reduce costs and that are licensed as coworking spaces rather than an industrial kitchen. “In practice, they [restaurants] use a situation not provided for by law, which is to aggregate, in a single place, dozens of kitchens. Each one with its specific work permit, as if it were going to have a small impact, but the sum of the action of all of them causes the inconvenience equivalent to that of an industrial kitchen”, he informs.

In addition to the problems of noise, smoke, grease, bad smell, accumulation of waste and traffic perceived by residents of neighborhoods that include ghost kitchens, Côrtes also warns about the bad working conditions for motoboys and cooks: “There are reports that even There is a bathroom for motoboys. And it’s a job that starts early, in the morning, and goes until dawn, until the last customer places an order. So there is no rest, and even this is maintained on the weekend. It’s pretty much a 20-hour shift, seven days a week.”

How to solve

To solve the problem, the professor suggests changing the forms of licensing and inspecting the projects as a whole: “Special attention has to be given to the issues of smoke and grease by the environmental inspection. Noise is an inspection by the City Hall”. He states that the São Paulo City Hall needs to develop a protocol before licensing these kitchens to check in detail what impacts they can generate and even prevent other forms of coworking from emerging and generating more inconveniences.

“And another fundamental issue is to verify the working conditions, not only of the motoboys, but also of the people who are [working] in these ‘dark kitchens’, to see if the working and hygiene conditions are really adequate”, he says. Polite. “Sometimes we receive a well-made product, [but] we don’t know how it was processed. At what social cost it was produced,” she adds.

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