There's no doubt that the restaurant industry can be risky. No matter how much time and effort you put into planning a concept, you never know how people are going to respond. Before you commit to a restaurant, you may want to test your ideas out with a ghost kitchen.
A ghost kitchen, or a virtual kitchen, is a food preparation facility that uses online ordering to connect with customers. While traditional restaurants have to create a pleasant atmosphere, virtual kitchens focus solely on the food. If you're unsure whether your restaurant concept will work out, a ghost kitchen is a good place to start — it can give you valuable insight into your menu before you invest in a brick and mortar location. Here's how prospective restaurant owners can use the virtual kitchen trend to their advantage.
Ghost Kitchens Are Cost-Effective
In comparison to brick-and-mortar restaurants, virtual kitchens have low overhead and rent costs. Because there's no need for a dine-in area, kitchen owners save money on the following:
- Space: A cooking space is all you need to launch a ghost kitchen. Furthermore, the kitchen can be located just about anywhere — owners don't have to pay extra for a location with high foot traffic.
- Furniture and decorations: Ghost kitchen owners don't need to spend time and money creating a comfortable dining atmosphere.
- Labor costs: Unlike traditional restaurants, virtual kitchens don't need waiters, hosts and busboys.
Because ghost kitchens are less expensive than brick-and-mortar restaurants, they tend to be safer investments. They also require less time to open, as owners don't have to worry about setting up a dine-in portion. Thus, potential restaurant owners can use ghost kitchens as a quick, efficient way to test out a concept without breaking the bank.
Virtual Kitchens Let You Experiment With Different Ideas
When working in the restaurant industry, it's essential to be able to adapt to different trends. A concept that's popular one month may fade the next month — adjusting your menu to meet changing market demands is essential to success.
One of the main benefits of ghost kitchens is that they let you easily experiment with different ideas. While traditional restaurant owners have to print a new set of menus to accommodate changes, virtual kitchen owners can handle all menu management needs virtually. This may include:
- Adding or deleting menu items
- Changing your food concept entirely
- Trying out multiple food concepts at once
If you have a risky idea, it might be a good idea to start out with a ghost kitchen. Using data from your online orders, you can discover whether your idea will actually be successful in the long-term. In Vancouver, many creative food businesses have used ghost kitchens to launch innovative ideas that have no market proof of concept interest.
Ghost kitchens also enable you to try out several ideas at once. If you're trying to decide between a few concepts, the virtual kitchen format can help you discover which one is the most popular.
Ghost Kitchens Let You Practice Working With Food Delivery Applications
COVID-19 has changed the way many industries work, including the restaurant industry. One of the most noticeable changes has been the increase in delivery orders — more and more customers are choosing to stay home and order in rather than visit physical restaurant locations.
While COVID-19 is already beginning to fade, it's safe to say that delivery isn't going anywhere. By the end of 2021, the food delivery business is expected to be worth over $24 billion — this number is only projected to increase over the upcoming years. Whether you run a ghost kitchen or a brick-and-mortar restaurant, you're going to have to work with delivery applications if you hope to succeed. This includes:
- Listing your menu on multiple applications
- Working with third-party delivery drivers
- Managing orders from different applications
If you decide to move on with your plan of opening a traditional restaurant, being able to work with delivery applications is a skill you must have. Since ghost kitchens rely entirely on online orders, they provide the perfect opportunity to practice using order management platforms (such as Cuboh).
Cuboh: Streamline Your Orders Today
Virtual kitchens offer a cost-effective way to experiment with new food concepts, get customer feedback and practice working with delivery applications. If you're apprehensive about opening a restaurant, then a ghost kitchen is a great place to start.
When running a virtual kitchen, it's important to manage your incoming online orders efficiently. Order management software like Cuboh can integrate with your restaurant SaaS and POS (point of sale) systems, making it easier than ever to accommodate customer demands. By streamlining your orders through restaurant tech, you can stay focused on the food and put your attention towards building a successful business.