What is a Ghost Kitchen?
While the term ghost kitchen or ghost restaurant may seem like the plotline of a cooking horror movie, there’s nothing scary about the reality of it. Ghost kitchens are a relatively new concept seeing ever-increasing popularity to meet the growing appetite for food delivery services.
What Is the Ghost Kitchen Concept?
A ghost kitchen is a remote space that a restaurant may rent to cook delivery and takeout orders exclusively. One way to think of a ghost kitchen is as a co-working space for restaurants. While some ghost restaurants allow takeout meals or drive-thru pickup, most do not have an actual storefront or seating for customers. Access to a ghost kitchen allows restaurant operators the space and equipment they need to prepare and deliver meals at a lower cost than a physical restaurant location.
How Do Ghost Kitchens Work?
Similar to a physical restaurant, customers can view the menu of a ghost kitchen, place an order and pay for their food online. After a customer places an order, the staff of the ghost kitchen will receive a notification and begin preparing the food. Once the food is ready, a delivery driver for the restaurant or a third-party delivery service will transport the meal to the customer.
The listing for ghost kitchens will not look any different from the listings for brick-and-mortar restaurants on delivery apps. Many ghost restaurants launch their brand online across multiple delivery apps to reach more hungry customers.
What Is the Difference Between a Ghost Kitchen and a Virtual Restaurant?
When it comes to optimizing your restaurant’s delivery services, you have the choice between opening a ghost kitchen and a virtual restaurant. A virtual restaurant is delivery-only and operates within a traditional restaurant to provide additional opportunities for profits. Virtual restaurants do not increase overhead costs such as rent and labor since they use the existing brick-and-mortar establishment’s kitchen to create delivery-only exclusive menu items for customers.
Benefits of a Ghost Kitchen
Ghost kitchens are an ideal solution for chefs and restaurant entrepreneurs who lack access to physical restaurants. Established independent and chain restaurants can also use a ghost kitchen to reach a larger customer base without building a new restaurant location. Some additional benefits of ghost kitchen businesses include:
Lower Overhead Costs
In a brick-and-mortar restaurant, juggling in-person dining orders and delivery can make it challenging to streamline efficiency. Ghost kitchens are optimized for delivery to cut all unnecessary costs. Since you are only paying for kitchen space and chefs, rent and labor costs are much lower, and you can serve more customers to increase profits.
Establishing a ghost kitchen will help you streamline orders into one place. Increasing order efficiency is especially helpful if you partner with multiple delivery apps, as it gives your restaurant access to accurate customer data.
Ghost restaurants also allow for the creation of on-site fulfillment teams to ensure each order will get in the hands of the correct delivery drivers and customers. With quicker cooking and delivery times, you can grow your online presence and expand into new neighborhoods to serve more hungry customers.
Many brick-and-mortar restaurants will make their entire menu available for delivery. In ghost kitchens, the main goal is efficiency, leading to simplified menu items that can package and travel nicely.
Online ordering also allows you to access a wealth of data about your customers and which items are in demand so you can optimize your menu and ordering needs. This insight into your customers’ ordering habits will also allow you to waste less time and ingredients for greater efficiency.
Increase Online Traffic
In a traditional restaurant, your location is a prime factor in your success. However, with a ghost kitchen, foot traffic is no longer in the equation. Instead of relying on a physical storefront to attract customers, you can focus your efforts online to develop higher order volume.
Create and Support Multiple Restaurant Concepts
With a ghost kitchen, multiple restaurants can operate within one kitchen space. This versatility allows ghost restaurants to support multiple menus and brands without the need for additional equipment or staff. Restaurants with overlapping menus and ingredients can function in the same ghost kitchen to further save on food costs.
Simple Operation Procedures
With in-house dining removed from the restaurant equation, daily operations become simplified. While delivery is still a new feature for some businesses, partnering with a third-party app will take the burden of actual delivery off your shoulders so you can focus on cooking and preparing orders.
The Evolution of Ghost Kitchens
We’ve now seen the increase in chatter around ghost kitchens and their impact. But do you know what the future of ghost kitchens may hold and whether you could benefit? In this infographic, you will understand how ghost kitchens began, how brands are currently using them, and get insight into where the future of ghost kitchens is headed:
Infographic courtesy of SynergySuite
Impact of Ghost Kitchens on the Food Service Industry
Across the globe, the food delivery industry continues to grow at a high rate. As this industry expands, ghost restaurants have also experienced growth to meet heightened consumer demand. Some of the ways ghost kitchen businesses have affected the food industry are:
Helping Restaurants Survive
Many restaurants fail to survive their first year of business. Due to rolling lockdowns from the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous eateries turned to delivery services to keep their doors open, which further cemented the use and popularity of ghost kitchens. Running a ghost kitchen allows restaurants to continue giving their customers great dining experiences in the comfort of their own homes. As many traditional restaurants enter the ghost kitchen market, they improve their chances of surviving and thriving.
Competition With Smaller Eateries
While creating a ghost kitchen can spell success for many restaurants, it can also be the tipping point into a disaster for smaller establishments that can’t afford this service. Since ghost kitchens are quick, cost-effective and efficient, some small, local restaurants that lack the staff needed to create and deliver orders quickly may find it hard to keep up with ghost kitchen businesses.
Opportunities for Experimentation
Since ghost restaurants are relatively safe and low-cost, chefs have the freedom to experiment with new menus and dishes without the worry of losing a large amount of revenue. Whether a restaurant has a brick-and-mortar location or uses the ghost kitchen concept, staying fresh and on-trend is the best way to capture customers’ attention and stay ahead in the market. With a ghost kitchen, chefs can easily develop a unique brand while delivering high-quality food.
Choose Feeser’s as Your Supplier for Your Ghost Kitchen
Whether you own your ghost kitchen independently or run it as an extension of a brick-and-mortar restaurant, one of the best ways to ensure you maintain happy, hungry customers is by making high-quality meals. Since the founding of Feeser’s over 120 years ago, we’ve helped connect restaurants with local and national brands to ensure each ingredient meets your high standards. To learn more about our products or services, contact us by calling 1-800-326-2828 or completing our contact form today!
Content provided in part by UniPro® Foodservice