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Worker exploitation in the gig economy: the case of dark kitchens.

Giousmpasoglou, C., Ladkin, A. and Marinakou, E., 2024. Worker exploitation in the gig economy: the case of dark kitchens. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights, 7 (1), 414-435.

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Dark Kitchens - worker exploitation_accepted paper version.PDF - Accepted Version
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DOI: 10.1108/JHTI-10-2022-0477


The emergence of dark kitchens in the restaurant industry is a contemporary phenomenon, arising most recently in the context of the so-called Gig Economy. This new business model flourished during the COVID-19 pandemic on a global scale. Despite their popularity, considerable negative publicity exists in the news related to poor working conditions. To highlight this new phenomenon, this paper explores the existing literature on worker exploitation in dark kitchens in the context of the Gig Economy. A systematic literature review of hospitality and tourism databases generated 1430 articles, 18 of which met our inclusion criteria for the final analysis; and 1030 anecdotal sources, of which 47 were included. Thematic analysis was used to identify the key themes and summarize the findings to be used for further studies. The popularity of dark kitchens as a business model is premised on the fact that it dramatically reduces the operational cost and increases productivity. On the other hand, the working conditions and contractual agreements of the gig workers in dark kitchens raise several questions from operational, legal and ethical perspective. These poor working conditions create the conditions for worker exploitation and further damage the sector’s image. This study advocates that companies and managers are responsible for implementing and monitoring fair working conditions in dark kitchens. The existence of poor working conditions increases employee turnover, and overall, affects the industry’s reputation. This explorative study provides insights into the working conditions and contractual agreements in dark kitchens. Currently, there is no other study (empirical or conceptual) to shed light on the working practices. It is hoped that this study will trigger further discussion and empirical research on this field.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Restaurant industry; Worker exploitation; Dark kitchens; Gig Economy; Systematic Literature Review
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:38224
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:29 Mar 2023 12:00
Last Modified:22 May 2024 15:38


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