If there's one trend that's taken the world by storm, it's food delivery. While the convenience of delivery has always been treasured, it's become even more popular due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most restaurant owners are adjusting their business models to accommodate this trend by offering delivery-only menus or opening ghost kitchens.
A ghost kitchen, or a virtual kitchen, is a restaurant that lacks the traditional dine-in area. Rather, it communicates with customers entirely through online channels. Not only do ghost kitchen owners capitalize off of the popularity of food delivery, but they also save money on space and staff — experts project that the industry could be worth $1 trillion globally by 2030.
With tons of restaurant owners scrambling to hop onto the virtual kitchen trend, it's important to find a way to make your ghost kitchen stand out. Here are three creative concepts you can experiment with.
Offer Unique Products and Deals
One way to make your ghost kitchen stand out is by offering unique products that cannot be found elsewhere. This could involve accommodating a special diet, fusing different cuisines or just experimenting with out-of-the-box concepts. For example, Flowery Burger — a ghost kitchen in Milan — found success with their eye-catching neon burgers.
Another way to spread brand awareness and attract new consumers is by offering specials and promotions. You can also use deals as an incentive for old customers to return — for example, Alt/Grub/Faction managed to keep customers coming back by offering a subscription service.
Integrate Different Menus Into One Kitchen
A traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant usually has one set menu — they may offer specials or adjust items occasionally, but the overall menu stays more or less the same. Virtual kitchens, on the other hand, have far more freedom in what they can offer customers. Because the menu is available online, it can be changed with ease — in some cases, a virtual kitchen may even offer multiple menus.
The multiple menu concept is becoming more and more popular with ghost kitchen owners. Some offer different menus under different names, essentially running several brands from a single kitchen. Chef Eric Greenspan, for example, manages multiple restaurants (Alt/Grub/Faction) from one location. Some ideas you can experiment with include:
- Different price points (such as a cost-effective menu and a higher end menu)
- Different cuisines
- Different diets
Ultimately, multiple menus let you expand your reach and accommodate the needs of different demographics.
Create an Innovative Website
One of the drawbacks of running a ghost kitchen is that it can be difficult to connect with customers. While traditional restaurants can appeal to consumers by providing helpful staff and a pleasant atmosphere, virtual kitchens must rely on digital tools, such as a website.
Because your website represents your business, you want to put some time and effort into making it look nice. Some ways to improve your website include:
- Images: A picture is worth a thousand words — offering a visual representation of your food is a great way to show customers what your brand is all about.
- Social media: Providing your social media handles gives customers a way to stay connected with your brand.
- Design: Incorporating elements like bold fonts and bright colors into your website gives your brand some personality.
- Contact info: You should always put contact information, such as your schedule, address and phone number, on your site.
- Online ordering system: Since the only way people can order your food is through online ordering, it's a good idea to have an ordering system in place.
Running Your Ghost Kitchen
Now that you have some innovative new restaurant ideas, it's time to get started with your own ghost kitchen! Along with making your kitchen stand out through unique menu items and a creative website design, you'll need to be able to manage incoming orders. Considering that most restaurants receive a separate tablet for ever delivery services, working with multiple applications can be overwhelming.
To increase efficiency, it's a good idea to invest in some high-quality restaurant tech, such as Cuboh. By streamlining orders and connecting to your restaurant SaaS in real-time, Cuboh can help you manage your requests and keep your business running smoothly.