Can Ghost Kitchens Transition To In-Person Service?

For many Americans, restaurants had become an integral part of their everyday life until the coronavirus outbreak hit world economies so hard. Before the pandemic, consumers were wining and dining at their favorites restaurants. The foodservice industry in the United States was exponentially growing, with the restaurant industry's food and drinks sales reaching $800 billion in 2017. While the foodservice industry has been brutally hit, one area has experienced tremendous growth — Ghost kitchen.

Growth of Ghost Kitchens

The emergence of Ghost kitchens has transformed the entire food industry. These cloud kitchens are remote places rented by restaurants to handle takeout orders and delivery. After COVID-19 restrictions, many restaurants explored the option of running their existing brick-and-mortar locations as ghost kitchens.

Ghost kitchens are pushing the restaurant costs towards online food delivery instead of in-person dining and reducing the number of employees thus bringing down staffing costs. Ghost kitchens use delivery apps for marketing themselves, with UberEats, DoorDash, and GrubHub being the leading apps in the United States.

After many months of lockdown, many states across the country are allowing restaurants to reopen for dine-in services with varying degrees of social distancing measures in place. Some of the ghost kitchens owners are turning their ghost kitchens into an in-person service. But how are they transitioning to in-person service? Read on to find out how ghost kitchen owners adding drive-thru, pick-up windows, and considering brick-and-mortar presence.

Pick-up Windows

With in-person dining making a comeback after the easement of COVID restrictions, many restaurants are changing their business model to maintain sales and keep their customers coming back. Walk-up windows are gaining popularity, especially for ghost kitchens. Pick-up windows have been around for a while. But they are rising as many restaurants add this feature to their operations for more convenience and a safe customer experience.

The shift in customer behavior creates new opportunities for restaurant owners to keep their staff employed and serve their community. As much as people can't dine in, order demand is not slowing down. Many restaurant owners utilize restaurant tech, like an online ordering system, to reduce traffic at pick-up windows.

One advantage of the pick-up window is that it can increase customer traffic. Walk-up window not only reduces much contact, but it is also a great way of keeping the dining experience personal. Many customers still crave to visit their favorite local restaurant and order their favorite burger in a safe environment, and that's what pick-up windows offer.

Drive-Thru

Fueled by the pandemic, many ghost kitchen operators are adding drive-thru to remain a step further. Many customers prefer visiting the drive-thru more often than usual since the novel coronavirus landed. Even as more restaurants open in-person services, the drive-thru is still gaining popularity. Since the 1940s, the drive-thru is preferred due to their quick ordering and convenience, and now that social distancing protocols are in play, they are becoming popular.

The socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 are forcing many ghost kitchen operators to follow new ghost kitchen trends like online ordering and delivery technology through mobile apps. Many restaurant owners prefer the new drive-thru model as it decreases expenses associated with cleaning, dining rooms maintenance, soft drinks, and paper products.

Brick and Mortar Location

Delivery-only restaurants have proliferated during coronavirus pandemics as many operators switch to ghost kitchens, which are easy to operate. According to Euromonitor's market research, it is estimated that ghost kitchen could grow to a $1 trillion business by 2030. Despite the prediction, many ghost kitchen owners are transitioning to brick and mortar locations to increase sales as the pandemic curve flatten. Many restaurant owners have a lot of pressing questions about the adoption of ghost kitchens. One of the most asked questions is, "do you still need to have a physical restaurant while operating a ghost kitchen?

The answer is you do. For the ghost kitchens to thrive without a brick-and-mortar presence, they will need to have brand equity which is not easy to build. To remain in the market, restaurants are transitioning to an "omnichannel" approach that combines online delivery apps and brick-and-mortar presence. Since high demand for delivery increased their reputation as ghost kitchens, they benefit more by increasing customer touchpoints.

Marketing Strategy is Vital during the Transition

Restaurant Saas is helping restaurant operators to understand more specific customer behavior than ever before. And as ghost kitchen trends continue to evolve, businesses are coming up with innovative ways of remaining profitable while satisfying their customer's needs. Ghost kitchens are tremendous, but for an immersive experience, cloud kitchen owners are using third-party delivery providers while transitioning to the drive-thru, pick-up window, and having a brick-and-mortar presence.

Are you looking for the best solution to maximize online deliveries as you transition to in-person service? Cuboh will help you grow your ghost kitchens so you can focus on in-person dining services.

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