A restaurant concept includes everything that has to do with how your restaurant is defined. Several components come into the picture when you're determining the concept of the restaurant. The most important thing to remember is that every decision you make will have a direct impact on how customers view your restaurant.
Some restaurant concepts, such as fast-food dining, are well known. While you don't have to come up with a completely unique concept for your restaurant, you don't want to directly copy another restaurant's concept. Consider the following points to help you come up with a restaurant concept that helps your business stand out.
Components of a Restaurant's Concept
The first thing that you have to decide about your restaurant concept is what type of food you will serve. Think about your basic menu, including the menu items that you want your restaurant to be known for. These are the items on the menu that will always be available to your customers.
Once you decide on what types of food you will serve, you can start to think about other points in the concept. Because your kitchen is virtual, things like dining room décor won't matter, but you still need to consider these points:
- Set your restaurant's theme. Even though you don't need to set up an eating area, you'll need this for your menu, advertising, and pick-up area if you're allowing takeout orders. The color scheme, types of graphics, and restaurant logo are all part of this.
- Determine primary marketing points. These are the main points you want your customers to know. These might be that your restaurant is eco-friendly or that you use locally sourced produce. Look at other local restaurants to determine what's missing so you can see if you can fill those voids.
- Introduce a unique spin. Pick one thing that you want everyone to associate with your restaurant. For example, if you have a BBQ restaurant, you might include a small bag of cracklins in each order. A Cajun restaurant might include Mardi Gras beads in each order.
Remember, since your kitchen is virtual, you can have more than one concept going at a time. Just be sure that you have a way to differentiate orders so you know how to handle each one. It may behoove you to have your unique spin the same across all the concepts to make it easier for your staff to put orders together. For example, if you have the Cajun and BBQ options mentioned above, the small bag of cracklins would be suitable for both options.
Restaurant Concept Examples
There's no limit to the number of restaurant concepts that can be thought up. Consider these ideas as a starting point when you're deciding your restaurant's concept:
- Cuisine specific: A cuisine-specific concept would mean that your entire menu revolves around one specific type of food. This might be Tex-Mex or Italian. You could also choose something a bit more unique, such as "only tailgating foods" or something similar.
- Bar concept: In this type of virtual kitchen, you would focus only on things that would be sold at a bar or pub. Think about burgers or hot wings as the main offerings.
- Family-friendly: Your menu could include more sophisticated dishes for adults with some standard kid meal offerings.
- Café style: A café concept would center around light food offerings, such as pastries and salads. Beverages could be coffees and teas.
- Fusion kitchen: A fusion kitchen enables you to put together different food types in a way that's unique to your restaurant. An example of this is combining Mexican and Chinese foods in your own way.
Your goal when you come up with a restaurant concept for your virtual kitchen is to stand out above your competitors. You want to attract customers who are tired of eating the same thing. You want your customers to remember your restaurant and recommend it to their friends.
5 Tips to Succeed With Your Restaurant Concept
Here are 5 tips to help you maximize your restaurant concept.
1. Delivery and Takeout Options
For a person who's starting a ghost kitchen, the method of getting food to customers is already determined. Everything will be handled through at least one food delivery service. You'll have to decide which services to use.
You also have to determine whether you're willing to add takeout options to the ordering process. If you're going to add takeout orders instead of just delivery, you'll have to figure out how you'll take those orders. There are a few possibilities:
- Customers can walk up to place a to-go order
- Customers can use a food delivery app and opt to pick up their own food
- Customers can call in an order that your employees take
- Customers can order online through your restaurant
While it might seem like a hassle, it's possible to use more than one delivery service. Cuboh integrates multiple delivery services into one easy-to-use system.
2. Boost the Online Presence
Customers need to know that you're in business so they can order. Virtual branding is the key to this, so you must build a strong online presence. Social media accounts and ads might be an effective way to handle virtual branding.
One thing to watch closely is customer reviews. You might be tempted to ignore the less than favorable reviews that come across from customers; however, these reviews can often bring in new business.
Instead of ignoring negative reviews, respond to those in a professional manner. Acknowledge the problem and don't try to make excuses. Propose or document the solution you offered or used for the matter. This shows other potential customers that you do care about customer service.
3. Expand the Menu
A wider menu means that you can attract more customers. As you're creating the expanded menu, you must think about a few things so that you don't overwhelm your workers and can provide each customer with the service they need.
- Can the kitchen space you have accommodate the items necessary to add specific items to the menu?
- Will adding certain items to the menu make each shift considerably more difficult for the kitchen staff?
- Can your staff realistically prepare the items in a timeframe that your customers expect from your restaurant?
- Will the items be the appropriate quality that your customers expect from the restaurant?
- Do you have the storage space available to safely house the ingredients for the new dishes?
- How well do you expect the new items to sell in your market area?
For some ghost kitchens, the best way to add new items to the menu is to go slowly. You may have a list of several items, but consider adding only two or three to the menu at a time. This gives the kitchen staff a chance to familiarize themselves with the items and it won't overwhelm customers with a bunch of new choices all at once.
4. Create Unique Food Options
Food fusions are becoming increasingly popular. Most people didn't expect that a combination like chicken and waffles would become a hit dish, but it's very popular in many markets. Talk to your workers to find out if there are any unique dish options they can think of that might be a good addition to your menu.
If you're adding these, consider starting small. Introduce the item as a limited-time-only option. If it sells well, you can always add it to the menu as a permanent offering.
5. Enhance Customer Service
One issue that's present with some ghost kitchens is that customers might not know how to get in touch with the restaurant if they have a problem. You have to show them that you'll readily reply to any complaints. If you don't want to publish a phone number, make sure that they can get in touch with you via social media or a similar manner. Always be willing to find solutions to rectify a customer's complaints.