Michigan Mom Expands Brand With Commercial Kitchen


( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Brandi Shelton, CEO of The D Loft Expands Her Brand With a Commercial Kitchen

ENSPIRE Contributor: Paulina S.

Brandi Shelton is a Detroit area mom and the CEO of the D Loft who has recently expanded her brand with a commercial kitchen. During the pandemic, she pivoted her business to help entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their food-based businesses through a commercial kitchen/ghost kitchen.

A ghost kitchen is essentially a virtual restaurant. Customers can order food online by delivery or pickup from restaurants working within a shared cooking space with other similar restaurants. Brandi Shelton’s grand opening of the D-Loft Commercial Kitchen happened March 18, at 20449 Schaefer Hwy in Detroit. This event showcased the 1500-square-foot facility, as well as local food vendors and food trucks.

Photo from the grand opening celebration

How can ghost kitchens help people starting out in the restaurant industry? 

A ghost kitchen allows food professionals to grow their customer base and profits. It provides a space to create food that inspires and boosts visibility. It also enables foodpreneurs to leverage platforms like Uber Eats, Doordash, Grubhub, and physical walk-up order options, as well as set up accounts with Groupon and even build an app for ordering online. Ghost kitchens are a low-cost, low-risk way to experiment with menu items, cuisine types, or even new markets.

What can interested people expect to have access to at the D Loft Commercial Kitchen?

We have tried to provide a chef’s wish list of equipment. (All gas appliances) 4-burner cooktop, 2 four rack ovens, grill (indoor and outdoor), fryers, griddle, sandwich station, prep tables, refrigeration, freezer, dry storage, tons of open space for up to 8 chefs to operate at one time.

What inspired you to create this kind of facility?

As an entrepreneur, I know that starting a business can be overwhelming, especially if you have a food-based business and require space. I, myself, have pivoted in my business and had the opportunity to transform this facility into a place that services diverse foodpreneurs. 

How does it feel being one of the first ghost kitchens to open up in Michigan?

This is surreal…. Everyday, it’s a new set of challenges, but the rewards are priceless. 

What are the requirements for applying to work at the D Loft Commercial Kitchen?

The full list of requirements for food entrepreneurs can be found on our website and include the following:

Food Safety Certification, Liability Business Insurance, State of Michigan Licensure, Federal Tax ID Number

The kitchen is also available to those who simply need prep space as well. Those requirements are also on our site.

Through this commercial kitchen, Brandi Shelton is giving food entrepreneurs a place to try new things at an affordable rate through the facility’s 24/7 availability. Since the pandemic, the demand for commercial space kitchens has increased at an un-proportional rate to the accommodation. Brandi Shelton has accommodated this demand through her brand’s expansion. She says, “We are excited to offer this space immersed in the community’s heart.” The grand opening event was free and open to the public and included facility tours, giveaways, music, and of course, food.

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