During the COVID-19 pandemic, ghost kitchens sprung up throughout the United States as a way to provide customers with safe, contact-free takeout food. In addition to these health benefits, virtual brands have benefits for the restaurant owners: they're cheaper, don't require a dine-in location, and allow the chefs to focus exclusively on the menu.
Apps like DoorDash and Postmates have made online ordering more popular than ever. As a result, ghost kitchens have become a billion-dollar industry with thousands of business owners launching kitchens throughout the United States. Even food trucks have started launching delivery options for their customers.
As the pandemic started to wane, many restaurants switched back to the dine-in model. Ghost kitchens don't have this option, but some restaurants have considered offering pick-up in addition to delivery. This allows customers to pick up their food from the kitchen instead of paying for delivery. The pick-up model could increase sales, but what does it mean for ghost kitchens?
What Are the Benefits of the Pick-Up Model?
With the pick-up model, ghost kitchens can increase their profits. Some customers want to order food from your restaurant but don't want to pay the delivery fees. With a pick-up option, customers can pick up their food from your location--no delivery fees or tips required. This is especially convenient for customers who live near your storefront. As a result, you'll enjoy even more sales and profits.
Pick-up orders are also easier for restaurants to manage. If a DoorDash makes a mistake, the customer might blame you even though you weren't involved. With the pick-up option, you won't have to give the food to a delivery driver and hope they make it in time--you'll just prepare the food and hand it to the customer. You'll represent your business directly instead of counting on strangers to representing your business in a positive light.
Pick-up orders are faster and more convenient for customers. Since they're not waiting on a delivery driver, they can pick up their food while it's still hot. They can also tell you directly if they have an issue or need a substitute. As a result, customer satisfaction levels improve, resulting in positive reviews and word-of-mouth.
What Are the Challenges of the Pick-Up Model?
The main challenge of the pick-up model is that restaurants need a viable storefront. Your customers won't be dining in, but pick-up isn't the best option if you operate in an area that's difficult to access. For example, you might not want to offer pick-up if your kitchen is nearly impossible to spot on the street. Additionally, people that operate out of residential areas probably don't want strangers in their neighborhood.
Offering pick-up also means interacting with the customers. Most of the interactions are brief, but your business might not be used to offering customer service. This creates new challenges like learning how to deal with rude customers.
What Does This Mean for Ghost Kitchens?
Ultimately, the pick-up model could revolutionize how ghost kitchens operate. Some kitchens might prefer to stick with food delivery to keep their process streamlined. However, if more kitchens open a pick-up window, customers might start to expect this service--forcing more kitchens to offer a pick-up option.
Offering pick-up is essentially the next step to becoming a fully operational restaurant. If they become profitable enough, some ghost kitchens might become full-service restaurants with dine-in locations. However, others will stick to delivery and pick-up because they don't want to deal with the hassle of running a sit-down restaurant.
In any case, offering pick-up can only increase your profits. A profitable ghost kitchen might be a serious competitor for chain restaurants in the area and contribute to this booming, billion-dollar industry.
How Cuboh Can Help You Streamline Your Kitchen
With Cuboh, you can grow your business faster than ever before. The Cuboh dashboard offers real-time stats, sales reports, and analytics so you can see your business's performance. Your dashboard also displays every order from every app at once--no need to check every delivery app separately. You can scroll through the orders, send the orders to the kitchen and view pertinent information. Contact Cuboh today or schedule a free demo to learn more about our platform. Our integrated software includes major apps like DoorDash, Postmates, GrubHub, and select regional apps.