It’s no surprise that ghost kitchens are becoming increasingly popular in our technologically advanced society. Ghost kitchens, often known as “virtual kitchens,” are professional kitchens equipped with all of the necessary equipment to prepare restaurant-quality meals—but without the dining room. Whether it’s for their own business, a tiny independent restaurant, or a major chain, ghost kitchens often fill online meal orders and deliver the food to hungry consumers.
Every year, more food entrepreneurs opt for the ghost-kitchen approach for their firm, owing to its low-cost and low-risk characteristics. In fact, market research firm Euromonitor recently predicted that by 2030, ghost kitchens may be worth $1 trillion.
The concept of ghost kitchens is always changing. With each new venture, lessons are acquired that can be used to the industry’s future as a whole, as well as your own.
The following six lessons are a good place to begin:
Table of Contents
- 1) Make the Most of Your Location
- 2) Develop Sub-Brands (Focus on Niche Products)
- 3) Use a Low-Risk Approach to Try Out New Markets
- 4) Make Ghost Kitchens a Part of Your Brick-and-Mortar Strategy
- 5) Adapt Quickly to Customers’ Changing Needs
- 6) Use Local Delivery Software
1) Make the Most of Your Location
As a ghost kitchen, the faster you get your food into the hands (and mouths!) of your customers, the faster you will find success. Speed and efficiency are critical. Your delivery service will suffer if you are in the suburbs and your target audience is half an hour away in the city. That’s why it’s crucial to choose the ideal site for your ghost kitchen.
REEF Kitchens has been assisting businesses with their ghost kitchen setup to get their food to the customers who genuinely want it since 2019. REEF Kitchens, which is mostly made up of parking lot locations, has aided not only small local delivery-only restaurants, but also celebrity-driven offers, in finding success in urban regions.
“For us, it’s about seeing the parking lot as a new urban hub where goods and experiences can be delivered to customers where they live and where they need them most.”Carl Segal, REEF Technology
Consider how close you are to your target audience as you begin your search for a ghost kitchen to launch your restaurant—or if you are considering terminating your present lease. The closer you are to your consumer, the faster the delivery will be, and the happier your customers will be.
2) Develop Sub-Brands (Focus on Niche Products)
Customers adore specialty stores, it’s no secret. They want to know that a company is a legitimate specialist in the sector, offering only the best. Few people would purchase a burger from a bakery, and even fewer would proclaim it to be the best burger in the world. This is why setting up a ghost kitchen dedicated entirely to specialized cuisine can be so profitable.
Instead of having a diverse menu, ghost cooks should concentrate on a few specialty items that they can perfect for their target audience. This will assist you get market reputation while also increasing your sales. Focusing on one niche, however, does not necessitate completely ignoring the rest of your menu. Create sub-brands to promote each of your numerous specialized categories instead.
Stone Bridge Pizza in Manhattan achieved just that by launching Rival Sandwich Co., a specialized sub-brand that specializes in baked sandwiches made with fresh baked pizza crust, fresh herbs, and salt. They opened this new ghost kitchen after experiencing less-than-ideal sandwich sales at the pizzeria. The goal was to offer the same sandwiches at a higher rate. They achieved exactly that, selling three times as many sandwiches in the first week alone.
This concept is being embraced by a growing number of exclusive virtual brands. These delivery-only restaurants only exist online and are frequently based in the kitchens of large chain restaurants.
3) Use a Low-Risk Approach to Try Out New Markets
Ghost kitchens are a low-risk option to test out a new market because they have lower start-up and overhead costs than typical dine-in restaurants. The majority of ghost kitchen locations are in shared facilities that charge tenants on an hourly, daily, monthly, or yearly basis, allowing you to choose the option that best suits you and your budget. When compared to the expenditures of opening a stand-alone restaurant, this rent is a bargain.
This allows small firms to experiment with what works and what doesn’t. Small enterprises can have a better understanding of their target market, such as whether people want to buy what they’re cooking. Before investing in a real place, they can make any necessary improvements. Small businesses can also use ghost kitchens to generate consumers and brand exposure, which will help them succeed in their brick-and-mortar location.
Low-risk ghost kitchens are used by national businesses like Noodles & Company to evaluate how a city will react to their presence. They actively run ghost kitchens to learn more about how new restaurant locations would work in specific neighbourhoods before opening a standalone establishment in town.
4) Make Ghost Kitchens a Part of Your Brick-and-Mortar Strategy
Ghost kitchens don’t have to be completely undetectable. Although many delivery-only businesses thrive in the virtual environment provided by ghost kitchens, a growing number of brick-and-mortar eateries are joining in the fun—and enjoying excellent results.
Wendy’s has began to concentrate on growing into more urban areas with the help of partner ghost kitchens housed in shipping containers strategically situated in parking lots. Wendy’s can offer a new consumer base from these innovative kitchens that their real brick-and-mortar shops would otherwise be unable to serve.
A ghost kitchen is an excellent supplement to a traditional marketing plan. Ghost kitchens allow you to put more time and money into the physical facilities you already have while still servicing consumers wherever they are, thanks to their minimal start-up expenses. Ghost kitchens allow you to serve your customers in a way that is convenient for both them and you.
5) Adapt Quickly to Customers’ Changing Needs
Recent events have demonstrated the need of firms of all sizes responding to a changing market. Businesses had to learn how to adapt when the pandemic struck. Restaurants and grocery stores will have to meet a new set of standards as time goes on and consumer behaviour evolves.
Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket chain, is demonstrating what it means to be adaptable by working with the ghost kitchen start-up Kitchen United. The two companies are collaborating to create takeout and delivery meal alternatives from within some of Kroger’s grocery stores. This was motivated by a rise in customer demand for in-person dining at restaurants, as well as a desire to meet those customers with similarly prepared meals.
6) Use Local Delivery Software
The customer experience is directly influenced by the delivery software you use. That is why it is critical to invest the time necessary to locate the best local delivery software for your business. After all, your ghost kitchen will be more successful if your software provides all you need to complete deliveries properly.
The following are some of the features to look for in delivery software:
- Helps with Fulfillment: A lot of software is just designed to get you or your drivers to a location. It doesn’t tie into the backend which means you then need to rectify the orders after a delivery driver returns. With seamless integration with your backend, a good delivery planner fulfills orders instantly.
- Proof of Delivery: Get peace of mind for yourself and your customers with proof of delivery. Your driver can attach multiple delivery photos, an e-signature, and an optional delivery note.
- Customer Tracking Pages: Transparency means a lot to customers, so offering a delivery tracking page where they can follow along with the delivery status of their orders is important. It also prevents customers from contacting you for an update.
Small businesses may get all of this and more with EasyRoutes’ delivery software for ghost kitchens. EasyRoutes are used by ghost kitchens to quickly get their cuisine into the hands of customers quickly and efficiently. EasyRoutes’ delivery experience results in happier clients who are more inclined to buy from you again in the future.
Whether you’re fresh new to the ghost cooking business or a seasoned pro, there’s always more to learn. Take your knowledge to the next level by seeking out new information that can help you grow your business. Look for a mentor who has achieved the goals you have set for yourself. Keep up with the latest industry news and breakthroughs by subscribing to our newsletter. You will create fresh opportunities to grow your business if you actively work to enhance your expertise.