It’s been over a year since the pandemic first began and the effects are still rippling through the hospitality industry. The good news? The world always finds a way to adjust. Furthermore continuing to create new and interesting business concepts to deal with changes in consumer behavior. The hottest new trend nowadays is virtual kitchens, or better known as, “Ghost Kitchens”.
What is a Ghost Kitchen?
A Ghost Kitchen is a commercialized kitchen that is set up to only fulfill online delivery orders. There are no servers, no bartenders, no front of house, no guest seating, or even a window to order from. The only employees are kitchen staff. Ghost Kitchens only exist on food delivery applications like “Postmates” and “Grubhub”. While consumers stay hesitant to return to inside seating, the demand for delivery is growing every day. Catering to this demand has provided some unique benefits to restaurant owners.
The benefits of a Ghost Kitchen may not be immediately apparent, but they are worth considering. First) they can solely focus on providing a quick and accurate delivery system, without having to worry about interrupting the dine-in guest’s experience. Also, by only needing a kitchen staff, this allows you to be more competitive with your menu prices. Second) Ghost kitchens have way less overhead than a typical restaurant. Less overhead is achieved because these locations often have cheaper real estate and rental costs. No more needing to operate in a location that has lots of foot traffic or signage to attract physical customers. Don’t forget, it takes less money to open a Ghost Kitchen and therefore lends itself to testing a new menu concept or as a half step to opening another brick-in-mortar restaurant location in an untested neighborhood. Third) during their off hours, you can always share a kitchen. If a Ghost Kitchen is opened in an existing restaurant’s kitchen, the costs of equipment, and even personal, can be shared. Making for a cheaper and more profitable restaurant business model.
Who Should Try Them?
With all of these benefits in mind, there are several types of business owners in position to take full advantage of the Ghost Kitchen model. Who you ask? Let’s start with first time owners. First time owners with a passion for food and cooking, but who have little to no experience operating a full scale restaurant. They may have trouble securing enough funding to open a full scale restaurant. Ghost Kitchens are not only for newbies. Established restaurant owners who are either wanting to test a new menu concept or see if a certain neighborhood will be an ideal spot for their next location. Don’t forget about Food Truck Owners. Food Truck owners who are looking to upgrade to a full scale restaurant, but are not 100% sure where to put down roots, will also benefit from using a Ghost Kitchen.
Due keep in mind, with super low overhead, it is very tempting to any owner wanting to test the waters and try something new. The restaurant industry is still a very risky endeavor, with one out of four going under in just the first year. So how can you test if even a Ghost Kitchen is right for you? Well for already established restaurant owners they can try running a month long test. Shut down dine-in service one night a week and just open the kitchen on a day the restaurant is normally closed. Solely except delivery orders from food delivery apps and phone orders. Market this on all of your Social Media platforms and consider even giving rewards though your customer loyalty program to entice their participation. Do this for four weeks straight. The answer will provide enough sales data to analyze and make an informed decisions on the usefulness of Ghost Kitchens.
Of course to do a Ghost Kitchen you need a point of sale system that can manage online orders and integrate to food delivery apps. Total Restaurant POS can do all that and more! To learn how Total Restaurant POS can help you open a ghost kitchen, contact us today.
As always, we are here to help. Let us know if you have any questions.
Total Merchant Supply is a POS Dealer based in NC & SC