Food delivery has become an increasingly vital component of the restaurant business. The growth of this specific niche has led to the development of delivery-only enterprises, which have begun to crop up on food delivery platforms everywhere.
Ghost kitchens are brands that exist entirely online. They exist solely as a delivery-only service, offering pros and cons compared to traditional restaurant spaces. A ghost kitchen, also known as a dark kitchen, is a kitchen that does not have a restaurant attached to it.
If you’re interested in starting your ghost kitchen as a new business or an expansion to your current one, read on below!
Why Operate A Ghost Kitchen?
There are several reasons why a ghost kitchen may be preferable to your standard restaurant business, especially given the recent focus on online delivery platforms.
In brief, the significant benefits of running a ghost kitchen are that it:
- Requires less space
- Offers better location options
- Provides lower overhead costs
- Lowers the reliance on staffing and staff costs
- Allows you to capture a wider audience
- Lets you improve or meet online delivery demands
- Allows you to scale flexibility scale your business
- Offers lower overall risks
Of course, there are downsides to ghost kitchens as well, such as marketing challenges and lower revenue diversity. But, if you can navigate the pros and cons and deeply understand what opening a ghost kitchen entails, it can prove to be a profitable addition to your business.
Identify Your Niche
It’s essential to identify and develop a particular gap in the market that your ghost kitchen can help fill. Factors such as intended demographics, meal types, and delivery area are crucial in determining your ghost kitchen’s final form.
As such, take the time to survey your target demographics regarding their food delivery choices and sweep the local area to see if there’s any competition from other restauranteers.
For established restaurants, look at your most popular menu items and delivery orders to develop an ‘express’ menu for your ghost kitchen that can help fulfil your current delivery demand or expand your delivery service to a broader area.
Choosing A Location
Because your customer base will be entirely online, you don’t need to place ghost kitchens in a visible location or an area with high foot traffic. As a result, choose a location where you can serve the highest number of customers while paying the least amount of money for space.
Of course, that is only true if you rent a space solely for your use, which isn’t always the case. Ghost kitchens also have the option of renting out existing kitchen space or opting for a shared, communal kitchen space, depending on the purpose of your business.
If a shared ghost kitchen is preferred, ensure the space can accommodate multiple vendors. You should also consider insurance coverage and other safety regulations that you should be aware of when using a shared or rented ghost kitchen.
Have The Right Tech
Running a ghost kitchen requires you to rely solely on the delivery aspects of the restaurant business, which will necessitate frequent interaction with third-party delivery providers and online payment systems for your services.
Given this digital focus, investing in a reliable restaurant POS or café POS system that supports online ordering and multiple digital payment options (such as cards and e-wallets) is crucial. Your POS should also be able to integrate with major food delivery partners in your area, so you can easily sync your delivery menu across multiple apps, such as UberEats and Deliveroo.
Look for a POS that integrates well with Kitchen Display Screens and Stock Management Systems. The former can help your kitchen staff keep track of all the necessary orders straight from the kitchen, while the latter ensures you always have enough ingredients to make your most requested food items.
Find The Staff Members You Need
Staffing is one of the most expensive and time-consuming aspects of running a restaurant. Compared to traditional restaurants, ghost kitchens can save more on staffing and labour costs because you don’t need to invest in any front-of-house staff. However, kitchen staff remain a significant expense, so hiring the right people the first time can save you a lot of headaches in the long run.
Because ghost kitchens do not need front-of-house staff, you can focus on the consistency and efficiency of the food preparation and delivery process. Aside from a well-oiled kitchen crew, you can also look into hiring a production supervisor or a quality control specialist to help with the food delivery aspects of the kitchen.
Invest In Good Packaging
As a delivery-only service, the most critical component of a delivery-only service is how well that good can travel from your ghost kitchen to its point-of-order.
The quality and style of your packaging are an essential part of your ghost kitchen service. Investing in suitable packaging material and using the appropriate containers for hot, cold, or greasy food can provide your customers with the best food delivery experience possible.
Marketing Your Ghost Kitchen
How should you start building a loyal customer base around a virtual restaurant in the absence of a physical storefront? The answer, of course, is to establish a robust online pressence via your website, various delivery platforms, review sites, and any social media you may use.
Start by creating an online website and social media accounts for your ghost kitchen so your customers can better find your brand and online delivery service. When it comes to social media, try and regularly post engaging content to draw in interest from potential customers.
As a final tip, link back to your website and any delivery services your ghost kitchen is on to increase click-through rates and make it easier for your customers to find your online delivery avenues.
Start Your Ghost Kitchen Business Today
A lot goes into the conception and development of a brand-new ghost kitchen business. Still, we hope the guide above has assisted you in narrowing down the aspects that you need to focus on for your ghost kitchen development plans.