A surge of third-party food delivery apps such as DoorDash, GrubHub, UberEats, and many more, has taken the foodservice industry by storm in recent years, changing the way most Americans eat. With the coronavirus accelerating this transformation, ghost kitchens, also known as a virtual restaurant, virtual kitchen, or cloud kitchen, are on the rise. One impact is the need for a point of sale and order management system that can help ghost kitchens provide more accurate and efficient management and service.
What is a Ghost Kitchen?
A ghost kitchen is a food service establishment that doesn't have a storefront or a physical space for dining. Instead, it offers a delivery-only dining experience that is facilitated through technology, often through the use of third-party delivery apps such as GrubHub or UberEasts. A ghost kitchen functions like a traditional restaurant, but without the front-of-house, meaning it's basically a commercial kitchen optimized for food delivery. Advantages of ghost kitchens include:
- Lower operational costs: Since ghost kitchens don't offer dine-in service, there is no need for front-of-house staff, which translates to lower labor costs. Ghost kitchens also need less operating space and can be located in more discreet areas, so rental costs are also lower.
- Greater scope to experiment: Operators at ghost kitchens can experiment with multiple kitchen concepts, testing out different menus to find the ideal product-market fit. It's much more difficult to pivot when operating a traditional restaurant if the concept doesn't gain traction.
- Exposure to a broader audience: A ghost kitchen leverages third-party delivery apps for marketing rather than a physical storefront, which can limit visibility in the market. With more and more consumers adopting the virtual restaurant experience, preferring to eat-in rather than dine-out because it provides convenience, more dining variety, and opportunities to try new restaurants, operators are gaining a broader audience.
How a POS System or Order Management Software Can Streamline Your Operations
Investing in ghost kitchen software is one of the best things you can do when you start an online restaurant. Such a system can improve accuracy and increase efficiency, opening doors to growth. Below are ways in which order management software can help you streamline your operations:
- Aggregate orders: Order management software designed for the ghost kitchen can aggregate third-party delivery orders from all of the major delivery apps alongside your own online and mobile ordering platforms, funnelling all orders into one queue for the restaurant staff. The result is that staff don't need to monitor multiple platforms for incoming orders.
- Integrate with POS system: Order management software can also integrate directly with your POS system, eliminating the need for an employee to manually input the order into the kitchen's main system or to juggle multiple tablets provided by third-party delivery services. Without having to manage multiple tablets to process incoming orders, kitchen employees can perform their jobs more efficiently.
- Access to real-time data: A POS system can help you develop strategic insights by simplifying how you manage data. With the click of a button, you can monitor sales and aggregate or compare all of the data from your delivery apps.