Are ghost kitchens the next bold step for restaurants?
Perhaps you ordered from a nearby ghost kitchen lately and thought to check the actual location. When you went there, though, no physical restaurant was in sight. Yet, more ghost kitchens are popping up in your area!
We will explain this new worldwide trend for the restaurant industry. Then, we will go through several details, such as its various types, benefits, and risks. In case you’re interested, these tips can help you set up a ghost kitchen yourself!
The pandemic has caused plenty of major changes to our daily lives. These shifts go beyond public health, and ghost kitchens are just one example. Restaurants use this as a means to adapt and even thrive during this crisis.
What’s a ghost kitchen?
Ghost kitchens cook takeout for multiple virtual restaurants at once and thrived in the pandemic. We talk with chefs and entrepreneurs behind this new breed of restaurants on #VICENewsTonight at 11PM on @VICETV. pic.twitter.com/uH4jvsT35M
— VICE News (@VICENews) July 15, 2021
You might have heard of dark kitchens or virtual kitchens. Those terms all refer to ghost kitchens. To make it simple, you can call them “delivery-only restaurants.”
In other words, these establishments only serve takeout and delivery. It may seem strange if you’re used to eating at restaurants. Yet, it’s a necessity for many restaurants.
Numerous brick-and-mortar restaurants around the globe shut down due to the pandemic. However, some restaurant owners refused to bury their hard work.
They prefer the old way of serving tables with happy customers. Yet, they have to keep their business afloat. That’s why many of them abandoned the traditional restaurant experience.
Now, their dining areas are gone. Only the kitchens remain, delivering the favorite meals of their customers. It helps mainly in lowering the costs of running their food business.
Believe it or not, this was a predictable next step for the restaurant industry. Think of how popular delivery apps are nowadays. It provides plenty of choices!
You might not have dined in their restaurants. Yet, ghost kitchens help you taste their culinary delights. With a few taps, you can arrange a meal to reach your doorstep.
Eventually, resto startups might not bother with a dine-in location anymore. A ghost kitchen lets you serve far more customers than a traditional restaurant can allow.
Are those the same as virtual restaurants?
You may have also heard of a virtual restaurant. Some websites tend to mix them up too. What’s the difference between them, anyway?
A virtual restaurant operates along with a ghost kitchen space. It still has the front-of-house staff, tables, and paper menus expected of a regular restaurant.
Let’s talk about a real-life example to explain further. If you often watch YouTube, you may have heard of Mr. Beast, also known as Jimmy Donaldson.
He is a YouTuber who’s well-known for his challenge videos. They often involve a few guests playing a game to win massive amounts of money.
Those dining businesses cooked burgers for Mr. Beast. The burger joint is still operating nowadays. You may want to buy their merch too! In return, they gain a bit of revenue.
However, some critics believe this isn’t sustainable for other resto owners. They cite the loss of revenue from in-house customers. Also, delivery apps take 15% to 30% of earnings per order.
Perhaps this is the reason why we mix up virtual restaurants and ghost kitchens. The former isn’t as popular, so we use the word for ghost kitchens too.
The different kinds, benefits, and risks of ghost kitchens
They’re a growing trend, so it’s bound to get various iterations. That’s why we have different types of ghost kitchens. Read the following list to learn more:
- Commissary Kitchens – Let’s say you own food trucks around Los Angeles. It can be hard to prepare every order quickly. Commissary kitchens serve as an area that prepares your food and distributes it to your food trucks.
- Commercial Kitchens – Think of these as commissary kitchens for larger restaurants. These prepare meals for multiple brands and companies. Also, it removes the hassle of renting timeslots or sharing space with other dining chains.
- Incubator Kitchens – When you need to serve more food, get an incubator or pop-up kitchen. These ghost kitchens help restaurants prepare food orders faster. What’s more, they let you try menu items from different restaurant industries.
We already said that ghost kitchens could reduce costs for restaurants. Yet, it has so many other benefits. Read more about them below:
- Startup in a snap! – If you want to start a restaurant back then, you have to get a location. However, that’s hard to get due to the rising costs of real estate. These aren’t a problem with ghost kitchens!
- Wider reach – People can eat your meals even if they can’t drive to your restaurant. This means gathering more customers than a traditional restaurant.
- Keep existing staff – You may assign them to your ghost kitchen instead. That way, you can help them keep their jobs.
Of course, even ghost kitchens have their flaws. The key is to fit their quirks for your needs. Know more about them below:
- Retraining – Your senior staff may have to learn new skills. You have nothing to worry about if they are highly adaptable, though.
- No human interaction – Most restaurant owners love the experience of seeing happy customers in their locations. You’ll lose that if you use ghost kitchens.
- Hard to see ghost kitchens – It’s hard to promote something you can’t see. In turn, you might have trouble drawing in new customers. This is a problem for virtual brands in general. Fortunately, digital marketing agencies can help you promote online.
Ghost kitchens are one way that the pandemic changed the world. Yet, there are so many changes happening in other aspects of daily life.
If you want to thrive, you must know how to adapt. This means learning the new things happening around you. Learn how the “new normal” will work, and it will work for you!
You might want to start with cryptocurrency. It started as “internet money,” but it is now changing the world in many ways. Specifically, it has spilled over the food industry.
Learn more about ghost kitchens
What is a ghost kitchen concept?
It’s a restaurant that only serves takeout and delivery. It doesn’t have a dine-in area. Though it helps owners keep their business afloat nowadays.
Why are ghost kitchens so popular?
It allows resto owners to spend less on running their business. What’s more, it’s a great way for people to start a restaurant business. They won’t have to spend so much, unlike in the past.
Why do ghost kitAre ghost kitchens consider a fail?
Some ghost restaurants operate in front-of-house areas. This means they spend much more. Other existing kitchens struggle with high delivery app fees.