Many restaurant operators have become creative in keeping their restaurants afloat during the pandemic. One of the avenues for keeping a food service operation viable is to partner with a ghost kitchen. The term ghost kitchen might sound a little strange, giving the impression of an empty kitchen or a kitchen where people come to explore the paranormal. However, ghost kitchens are alive and thriving. Food lovers who enjoy different cuisines but prefer that a restaurant does the cooking, ghost kitchens are welcome additions to the foodservice business. The idea to create a ghost kitchen can become reality because of the low startup and operating costs.
What is a ghost kitchen? Ghost kitchens, or Virtual restaurants, have storefronts that exist online, allowing customers to peruse menus, place their orders, pay, and have the food delivered to their homes. Although ordering food to eat at home became necessary due to the pandemic, many people have grown to love the idea. There is no dressing up, no dealing with traffic, and no waiting for a table when finally arriving at a restaurant. Families with small children can enjoy a celebration comfortably at home by ordering from ghost restaurants. Meal ordering once reserved for catered functions is now available to individuals and families any day of the week through virtual dining.
Ghost kitchen companies can offer competitive prices on the food they sell because they operate in smaller spaces without traditional restaurant frills. Foodservice establishments can pass savings from low overhead costs to their customers through lower food costs.
Partnering with food delivery services is a win-win for ghost kitchens. Rather than dealing with customers coming to the premises, the employees at ghost kitchens get accustomed to working with delivery employees, so both parties become efficient at expediting deliveries. It is also easier to get the orders correct since customers can use third-party apps to order online, and they have plenty of time to review orders before placing them.
Restaurant owners who would prefer focusing on in-house diners can partner with ghost kitchens to increase exposure. Preparing food for restaurant diners requires a lot of work to impress diners who come through the door. People who go out to eat, look forward to an experience. A restaurant's environment is essential for bringing in business. Dining rooms with artwork, comfortable chairs, and ambient lighting create the perfect backdrop for a special occasion.
Chefs who take pride in creating and plating dishes that look like edible works of art cannot do their best work when bombarded with to-go orders. When a restauranteur has not designed a high-volume takeout business venue, it can be challenging to transition to takeout sales. Partnering with a ghost kitchen makes it possible to focus on in-house diners while developing a new customer base with takeout customers.
Ghost kitchens are successful because they focus on preparing good food and packaging it, so the consumer at home gets a high-quality product. Concentrating on food prep rather than worrying about the front of the house, and dealing with customer complaints, means that chefs and cooks can work quickly to expedite hundreds of orders for their at-home customers.
By partnering with a ghost kitchen, a restaurant owner can develop new concepts. A fine dining establishment can experiment with dishes that work well for home delivery. Ghost kitchens can prepare the dishes using a partner's recipes and ingredients and offer them on their online menus. Customers get to try special meals at home, and that can lead to increased business for the ghost kitchen, the restaurant partner, and delivery services. virtual dining may also lead to customers visiting a restaurant to try other items on a menu.
Restaurants that do not usually offer catering services might find that partnering with a ghost kitchen is a way to build a catering business without setting up a unique workspace and hiring staff to handle catering orders.
Suppose a restaurant has a popular dessert such as cheesecake or a special pie. When the restaurant partners with a ghost kitchen, it is easy to create a multiple kitchen concept. The restaurant can allow the ghost kitchen to sell and ship the desserts to customers, leading to more business. The restaurant can supply the ghost kitchen with the products, and the ghost kitchen can fulfill the orders.
The ghost kitchen concept is new to many people, but as these foodservice operations increase in popularity, expect more demand from consumers who have become accustomed to home grocery delivery, telehealth visits, and working from home. Ghost kitchens' quality and convenience will make them a common choice for consumers who want to enjoy high-quality restaurant dishes and specialty foods without leaving their homes.