Ghost kitchen concepts have been around for sometime now, giving larger kitchens the ability to rent out extra space or time slots to brands that operated solely as an online storefront that shipped its food, typically baked goods. With the lockdown provisions seen during the COVD-19 pandemic, traditional restaurants started the needed transition to offering online orders through delivery or pickup. Luckily for these kitchens, food tech had already evolved to the point that every online order can be tracked with order management software or restaurant SaaS.
Now, ghost kitchen startups are skipping the seating area altogether when finding the perfect kitchen they'll set up shop in. Food delivery is becoming more and more accepted as a viable option for nights when cooking at home simply isn't going to happen. While this is a great opportunity both financially and logistically, it also means that how your brand is viewed depends on the quality of food and order management. No more servers wearing a bright smile to make guests feel welcome, their enjoyment is now solely based on your performance.
One of the quickest ways to lose a good rating is to completely fail to deliver on an order which may seem hard to do but it takes strong order management skills and the right restaurant SaaS to make sure every online order is made correctly and delivered on time. Every delivery app has a dashboard that shows when an order is placed so that you can confirm it and add it to the queue for the kitchen.
Consolidating these orders into one dashboard can help eliminate missed orders if you don't review each and every app and screen used for your kitchen's delivery fulfillment. You'll need to work with as many of these delivery apps to reach as many potential customers as possible as each additional delivery partner is another userbase you'll have access to.
Now that you have everything set up to start receiving mass orders, you'll need to make sure your orders are ready to go on schedule and that delivery drivers are able to pick up and leave as quickly as possible. To make this as simple as possible, ghost kitchen concepts started including customer names and order numbers on the ticket for the packaging instead of just a standard receipt.
Efficient communication such as this enables drivers to grab the correct order and be on their way to deliver a satisfactory customer service experience. For every wrong or late order, you could be dealing with a frustrated customer taking up your time on the phone or leaving negative reviews for something that occurred due to the driver. While this may seem unfair, it's ultimately up to your kitchen to produce quality experiences for the customer which includes the order and delivery process.
When customers aren't sitting down in the restaurant smelling the amazing food being brought to tables, they have to rely solely on their eyes to decide what to eat. Take full advantage of this by putting your effort in where it counts, making your menu turn their hunger into cravings for your food.
A quick win in this category is to make sure that your food descriptions are concise and focus on the primary components of the meal. If it's a simple dish with too short of a description, try adding the cooking method or referencing where the dish is from to add more details that won't bore the customer.
Every kitchen has a signature dish or type of food they become known for. Figure out what your ghost kitchen truly shines at creating and place it front and center of your featured menu items. Food tech within these delivery apps has made it possible to show what you want up front, whether it's your most popular or most profitable dish, making every online order that much more likely to be something to wow them or make you the most profit.
Another thing that ghost kitchens don't have that traditional ones do is the ability to ask your customer if they've saved room for dessert! If there's a dessert tray nearby to pull over, it's practically a free sale. Food delivery programs and menu management software have the ability to prompt each online order before checkout if a dessert should be added to complete the order!
If you're thinking "They would just order the dessert if they wanted it." then you're right, but sometimes you need to remind them they want it. Most customers aren't going to click on dessert while picking out a savory dinner, so make sure they don't forget to add it with a helpful pop-up or suggested add-on.
In the end, all of these steps will improve how customers view and review your kitchen, as well as how happy they are with ordering through you. While you can't control every delivery driver's actions, you can give them and your kitchen the tools needed to make the process as straightforward as possible.