While prepared food delivery services have existed in isolated cases for centuries, they didn't become popular until the advent of fast food in the 1960s. Even after this shift, most people who wanted something other than a pizza had no other option than to trek to the restaurant of their choice. Online ordering began to expand options significantly at the turn of the century, with more traditional restaurants offering home delivery through various services.
This trend toward convenience has led to app-ordering services springing up in the last decade, making food delivery even easier and more efficient. As more people find they prefer to eat at home, forward-thinking entrepreneurs, such as Jason Chen of JustKitchen, are starting to rethink the entire restaurant model altogether. They are doing away with the overhead of a restaurant and dining area and just operating a ghost kitchen operated in conjunction with modern restaurant tech. JustKitchen takes the traditional ghost kitchen model even further and provides a blueprint for other savvy business-minded people to follow who understand the enormous potential of the ghost kitchen trend.
A ghost kitchen, also known as a virtual kitchen or dark kitchen, is much less sinister than its name implies. A ghost kitchen is an online ordering system where customers order food through an app that is made in a kitchen that has no dine-in service and is then delivered to them at their doorstep. The lack of wait staff and a dining area makes an app-to-door food business cost less to operate than a traditional restaurant. Although the pandemic created a surge in online food deliveries more recently, this business model has been gaining traction over the last decade all around the world.
The traditional model of a ghost kitchen involves fully preparing a meal at a central location and then delivering it within a 25 to 35-minute travel radius. With this model, one kitchen can operate as multiple brands with completely different menus and cuisine. The traditional model ensures fresh, fast delivery but has some drawbacks. The ghost kitchen is unable to extend deliveries beyond its service area without compromising food quality and customer satisfaction. In order to expand the service area and still deliver freshly cooked meals quickly, JustKitchen developed a hub and spoke model.
With the hub and spoke model, food is prepared to near completion at a main central kitchen (the hub) and then sent to smaller satellite kitchens (spokes) at greater distances where they complete the food preparation. This model expands the service delivery area without incurring the overhead of a full kitchen central to each one. Ingredients need only be delivered to the main hub where all food preparation takes place, leaving the satellite kitchens to warm food, package and send out for delivery. In some cases, the satellite kitchen is an existing restaurant that wants to expand its delivery menu by partnering with a ghost kitchen service.
JustKitchen is a ghost kitchen based in Taiwan and co-founded by Vancouver-raised Jason Chen. JustKitchen prepares the food at a central location and then blast-chills it before sending it to a smaller kitchen for final preparation and delivery. For JustKitchen, the hub and spoke model doesn't just expand the delivery area of its central kitchen, but the model also enables it to strategize for each community based on the popularity of certain food types and the habits of the residents. Areas with a younger population might skew toward healthier food or late-night snacks, whereas areas with an older population might prefer more traditional Taiwanese cuisine.
JustKitchen not only has 14 of its own proprietary brands but also blends the ghost kitchen model with traditional restaurants in two other ways. One way is through partnering with franchise brands to offer their classic menus through the ghost kitchen model, and the other is to partner with restaurants in local areas to operate as satellite kitchens so they can add to their food-delivery menus. JustKitchen is planning to expand its hub and spoke model to other countries.
Whether you are currently operating a ghost kitchen or are wanting to join the ghost kitchen trend, Cuboh makes it easier. Cuboh integrates multiple delivery service apps so you can manage all of your orders through one device. We provide real-time data and reporting so you can strategically expand or scale your business. Cuboh also integrates POS solutions and in-kitchen printers, so you never miss an order. Additionally, we offer enterprise services for restaurants and ghost kitchens that operate in multiple locations. To find out how Cuboh can help you get started or expand in the ghost kitchen business, book a free information call and demo of Cuboh's services. Contact Cuboh today.