The idea of opening a restaurant is often filled with thoughts of extreme hours, no free time and grueling battles between kitchen and floor staff. Thanks to advances in online ordering and order management, ghost kitchens have started gaining immense amounts of traction.
Changes to occupancy and dine-in laws during the COVID-19 pandemic saw these ghost kitchens pop up throughout the world, with some companies opting to continue the endeavor even as restrictions lift.
Opening a ghost kitchen, or dark kitchen to some, means that you no longer have to worry about accommodating guests. The dining floor is non-existent, leaving only the kitchen at the physical location and orders being placed online or through third-party apps. This opens up the chance to create your own hours or stick to the standard 9AM-10PM window for maximum availability.
Such high levels of freedom in how a ghost kitchen can be ran are all thanks to advances in restaurant technology. Multiple companies or brands are able to share one single space to take advantage of proper licensing most commercial kitchens already posses.
Not only for start-ups, ghost kitchens have gained traction and found brands such as Chick-Fil-A and WalMart getting in on the hype by joining up and investing in kitchens that support multiple menus and brands all at once.
While the idea of setting your own schedule is what drives many to starting their own business, ghost kitchen start-ups still require long hours to meet the demands of customers that may have different schedules.
In order to full realize the potential of a ghost kitchen, owners will have to make sure they define and stay within the guidelines they want the company to go by. This means having a set schedule that your customers and employees can rely on day after day.
Being a ghost kitchen means that all orders are delivery-only. Each kitchen must either hire their own network of delivery drivers or choose a provider that offers third-party delivery on their behalf. The latter is much more common as the up-front cost is much lower. Make sure to account for a 15-30% fee attached to each order, as well as advertising dollars spent to be listed higher up within the app's search results.
Even though it's called a virtual or ghost kitchen, there still remains the requirement of a physical location for orders to be prepared. You can opt to pivot an existing kitchen to accommodate a new menu, but the cost to do so or open a new kitchen can be prohibitive.
With restaurant technology being able to keep up with sanitation guidelines on a larger scale than ever before, commercial kitchens are seeing more and more use by multiple teams all at once. Renting a space in one of these facilities will drastically lower your costs, but you'll have to make sure they can accommodate your schedule with the existing tenants.
For a brick-and-mortar restaurant, customer service starts with a friendly greeting from the host before being seated and met with wait staff sharing the same excitement and customer service found throughout the space. Ghost kitchens have to rely on delivery apps such as GrubHub, UberEats, Doordash and others to provide proper service and professionalism on each order.
Not having direct access to your customers means that you'll struggle to correct problems when they occur, often leaving the resolution up to the delivery company which can fall short of customer expectations in a world of online reviews.
This is just one of the reasons why the Cuboh platform was created. Managing all orders in one space helps streamline the process of order management while still allowing for online ordering across multiple different apps. Cuboh places each order in one dashboard making any time a great option to get your kitchen off the ground and into the digital spotlight.
Whether you're an aspiring chef looking for an easy way to offer delivery or an existing establishment ready to enter the virtual era, a ghost kitchen is the perfect way to tap into the market without the stress of purchasing a location and hiring dozens of staff members. Delivery companies, commercial kitchen rentals and a fully digital brand can all make the process easier once you're up and running.
Cuboh is designed to make the initial transition seamless, giving you the most control over your online ordering with modern restaurant technology integrating directly to your in-store POS or order printers to keep it business as usual for your kitchen. Don't wait until the market is saturated and making your big debut falls short of expectations.