The rise of the ghost kitchen market was made possible by the surge in customers ordering food to their homes. In addition, customers feel comfortable ordering food online, with 52 percent feeling safe ordering from a restaurant that only offers delivery without a physical storefront. More and more often, the food you order from a home delivery application is prepared by chefs who work for a restaurant that doesn't exist in the traditional sense. Ghost kitchens don't have a storefront, dining room, or front desk staff.
In some cases, the kitchen serves as a hub for several virtual restaurants; in others, the virtual restaurant's food is prepared within the kitchen of an existing physical store, but with a different name and menu. This makes it possible for anyone to cook their hamburgers, tacos, or pizza anywhere, making the ghost kitchen concept so attractive to owners and investors. To ensure customer satisfaction, ghost kitchens must make sure that the ordering process allows for modifications and add-ons to orders. The potential for higher margins is what draws restaurant owners to research ghost kitchens.
In most cases, ghost kitchens are only available for delivery; customers can't stop by to pick up an order for “takeaway food”. In some cases, renting an economato kitchen – installed and maintained by an external supplier according to applicable sanitary standards – is the best option for ghost kitchens. Once they do, the flexibility of the model will allow them to find an approach that suits their needs, even if their needs are very different from those of the ghost kitchen brand of the future. Because they require less overhead – especially initially – ghost kitchens make it easier for people to open restaurants.
Companies starting out as ghost kitchens should consider all of the requirements associated with establishing a new business, including some that are exclusive to “online-only” companies such as contracts related to software vendors and delivery companies. Ghost kitchens that can't guarantee efficient, effective, and reliable delivery options won't survive. From websites and applications for promotion and ordering to internal systems for managing workflow and delivery services like Uber Eats, those who want to create ghost kitchens will find many external suppliers they can partner with. By eliminating physical visitors, ghost kitchens can be located away from high-rent urban areas with lots of foot traffic. Meanwhile, ghost kitchen companies have become increasingly prominent and are seen as a threat to traditional restaurants.
State and local authorities are usually responsible for overseeing the operations of ghost kitchens from a health and safety perspective. Others think that the ghost kitchen trend may disappear when the world returns to normal – it's easy to understand why. The old guard of the restaurant industry prefers concepts from industry veterans, but ghost kitchens can use the DTC strategy manual to successfully define a virtual brand, grow that brand with their own and paid means, and leverage consumer data to generate repeat orders with promotions and loyalty programs.