In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic helped ghost kitchens become a worldwide phenomenon. A ghost kitchen is a restaurant that operates through a delivery-only model. In lieu of a sit-down restaurant, ghost kitchens provide online menus and deliver their food directly to customers. Ghost kitchens can operate in existing restaurants, group workspaces and private kitchens. With more customers ordering their food from delivery apps like DoorDash and GrubHub, dark kitchens have become a booming industry that racks up billions of dollars each year.
While some have wondered if ghost kitchens can continue to exist after the pandemic ends, recent trends have shown that ghost kitchens are as popular as ever. Here's a look at the top dark kitchen trends to watch out for in 2021.
As dark kitchens have become a force in the restaurant industry, leaders have started hosting ghost kitchen conferences that feature prominent speakers. Ghost kitchen conferences feature founders, CEOs, investors, presidents and directors of ghost kitchen apps, restaurants and organizations. These conferences are often multi-day events that draw hundreds of guests. When people attend a conference, they'll walk away with knowledge about the latest restaurant tech and upcoming dark kitchen trends.
Food halls are another trend that's enjoyed a recent boost in popularity. Like a mall food court, food halls offer multiple restaurants in the same building. But instead of fast food, food halls offer fine dining options from a number of family-owned restaurants in the area. Virtual food halls streamline the process by offering a single kiosk. Instead of waiting in line at multiple booths, guests can order from multiple restaurants, place a single order and wait for their food to arrive. This eliminates the need for guests to wait for each other or visit different booths in the food hall.
Restaurant SaaS technology is essential for dark kitchens that want to compete in the dining industry. Cuboh is a SaaS application that funnels every order into a single dashboard. Instead of switching between apps like DoorDash and GrubHub and possibly missing an order, restaurants see every order on a single screen. Cuboh also provides data and analytics so restaurant owners can evaluate their current strategy. With this convenience, dark kitchens can grow and compete with other restaurants in their area.
To keep up with the increasing need for ghost kitchens, companies like Lunchbox and Smooth Commerce offer marketing solutions. These companies help dark kitchens build apps and websites with ordering features so customers can buy their food within minutes. Other features include loyalty programs, push notifications, gift cards, order suggestions and software for ghost kitchen employees. With integrated marketing strategies, ghost kitchens can reach more customers in the area and enjoy a boost in profits.
For some ghost kitchens, finding a customer base is the hardest part of getting started. Neighborhood kitchen solutions like REEF help restaurants get started in their cities, then gradually expand their reach to nearby areas. After the initial consultation, REEF helps restaurants perfect their concepts and move onto the pilot phase. A successful business has virtually unlimited opportunities for growth--they could expand to new areas and even open additional locations.
Request a Cuboh demo today to learn what we can do for your business. When you book an appointment, you'll get a free informational call where you can talk to a professional and come up with a plan to grow your business. Cuboh has multiple pricing tiers for restaurants at different places in their growth. Browse our website to learn more, and get in touch when you're ready to get started.