In the past, if you wanted to open a restaurant, you would look for a space in a decent part of town that had a kitchen, a dining area and adequate parking. You would build your business through great food, loyal customers, word of mouth advertising and positive reviews. With the already growing presence of ghost kitchens accelerated even more during the pandemic, the process for opening a new restaurant is changing dramatically. The Kitopi ghost kitchen in Dubai is paving the way for a new model for a start-up restaurant that doesn't rely on a prime physical location, high-quality dine-in service or high upfront overhead costs.
Ghost kitchens, also known as virtual kitchens, dark kitchens or cloud kitchens, have all the functionality of a restaurant kitchen without a dining area or wait staff. A ghost kitchen serves as a virtual restaurant because food is ordered online, prepared in the kitchen and then sent to the customer through home delivery. Because the customer never visits or sees the kitchen, it can operate in any location, including those in low-rent and warehouse zones, and in some cases, even parking lots. The cost-saving advantages found in the ghost kitchen trend are leading to a restaurant revolution.
With the ghost kitchen model, a new restaurant can start building loyal customers and profits through home delivery without any of the startup overhead experienced with traditional restaurants. Since home delivery has been dominating the foodservice industry during the pandemic, customers are more accepting of the "delivery only" model. While restaurants are opening back up again, many customers are still reluctant to inhabit public spaces, especially those that are crowded, which is ideal for a successful new traditional restaurant.
Rather than take the "try and fail" approach to finding the ideal location, a new restaurant can test markets for its menu in various areas through online orders and find the location with the best response before setting up a physical location. A new restaurant can roll profits first made from home delivery into a thriving brick-and-mortar space to offer dine-in service for those customers that prefer it. Once a physical location is finally set up, the restaurant will already have loyal customers who love its cuisine. In a hybrid model, a new restaurant can continue to have food prepared in a ghost kitchen and just offer a dine-in space, even outdoors.
Headquartered in Dubai, Kitopi started in 2018 and now operates over 60 ghost kitchens that prepare food for more than 100 eateries and 200 brands in five countries, with plans to expand into Southeast Asia. While the pandemic halted growth in the United States and the United Kingdom, the shift to home delivery around the world gives the company enormous potential for future global expansion. Kitopi operates a central kitchen in each area that sends partially-prepared food to satellite kitchens that complete the preparations and send it out for delivery. The company has raised $90 million in venture capital funds, with recent talks of securing another $400 million to raise its valuation to $1 billion to facilitate its expansion.
Kitopi partners with established brands to prepare the food on their menus for home delivery. Brands give Kitopi their recipes, train its chefs how to cook their food and Kitopi does the rest. Co-founder, Saman Darkan, claims that it's "like franchising." Through a ghost kitchen, a brand can expand to new areas and even new countries without the overhead of a physical location. As people around the world have become more accustomed to home delivery out of necessity, the food tech and app-to-door model are here to stay because of its ease and convenience.
Whether you currently operate a restaurant or are interested in ghost kitchens, Cuboh can help streamline your shift to online app-to-door home delivery. With Cuboh, you won't have to choose between existing delivery services because we can integrate them all into one device. Cuboh works with established services such as Grub Hub, Uber Eats, Door Dash and many other international services. Cuboh gives you the data and reporting that you need so you can scale or expand your business strategically. Cuboh eliminates the confusion and hassle of point-of-sale (POS services) by offering scalable restaurant SAAS (Software as a Service) that grows with you as your business grows. We integrate your ordering system with in-kitchen printers to ensure that no order is ever missed. Cuboh also offers enterprise services for restaurants with more than one location. To find out how Cuboh can help your restaurant offer reliable home delivery service or more about how it helps ghost kitchens, book an appointment for a free demo of Cuboh's services.