The Rise of Ghost Kitchens—A History

The Rise of Ghost Kitchens—A History

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The ghost kitchen concept emerged around the same time demand for restaurant meal deliveries started soaring. As more people started ordering meals delivered to their doorsteps, ghost kitchen companies saw the opportunity to address this new demand and ghost kitchens became the solution. Fundamentally, ghost and traditional kitchens are quite similar in terms of meal preparation.

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They still feature a food preparation facility and meals are prepared once an order is requested. However, the ghost kitchen business model focuses on delivery-only meals, with no sitting capacity for walk-in customers. Eliminating brick-and-mortar visits allows the setting of ghost kitchens away from high-rent urban locations with high foot traffic.

Ghost Kitchen Vs. Ghost Restaurant

A ghost kitchen isn't the same as a ghost restaurant, but one business can offer both. A kitchen doesn't have to carry any restaurant brand name as it is merely a meal preparation facility. Multiple restaurants can rent the same ghost kitchen for their food preparation. On the other hand, a ghost restaurant refers to a brand that offers delivery-only meals. A ghost kitchen is also known as a ghost kitchen, or delivery kitchen. The facility may also feature parking space for delivery drivers.

Ghost Kitchen History

Campania, Italy, is the place where restaurant delivery meals emerged when in 1889, King Umberto and his queen ordered pizza delivered to their palace.

However, the onset of delivery meals in the US and worldwide picked up in the late 90s, starting with World Wide Waiter in 1995. The fast-growing internet and mobile technology also gave the industry a significant boost as more people began using the internet to find products and information. Restaurants started creating websites, so customers could find them online and see what's on offer.

At first, the existing restaurant saw this new opportunity to reach new markets and increase meals sold. However, as time went by, it became apparent that delivery-meals were the future of dining and the number of meals ordered online soared. Ghost kitchens Uber services and third-party integrations also propelled the industry, reducing the initial capital requirement for new startups.

RELATED READING: How to Start a Successful Ghost Kitchen (The Ultimate Guide)

The Concept

The ghost restaurant concept has gained tremendous traction since the pandemic hit. However, it existed long before COVID-19.

Ghost kitchen startups aren't all the same. For instance, you could go with facility renting and delivery platforms like Uber Eats and Grub Hub and Door Dash. On the other hand, you can invest in a ghost kitchen food truck that features meal preparation equipment and can also offer doorstep delivery.

However, the business model involves serving customers ordering their meals remotely, either through a website, application, or third party platform. Ghost restaurants can also offer point of sale and online ordering systems that feature popular delivery platforms. Starting an Uber Eats ghost kitchen is significantly cheaper than brick-and-mortar setups. Nonetheless, food, labor, delivery, packaging and operational costs are still part of the venture, so you need well-thought strategies.

The Future of Dining

Following the Coronavirus pandemic, many restaurants were forced to close doors amidst calls for social distancing, putting an end to traditional dining.

Some restaurants still operate, but the revenue has reduced significantly.

Meanwhile, ghost kitchens companies have only become more prominent and are seen as a threat to traditional restaurants. With a new wave of the virus expected, ghost kitchens are poised to stay for the long haul. They also offer convenience, cut costs and bear the inherent benefits of eCommerce. Startups can leverage digital technologies to streamline the ordering process, market the brand and provide reliable customer service. However, investing in an Uber ghost kitchen has no success guarantees. You still need a comprehensive, well-researched business plan.

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