Increase profitability with a Dark Kitchen
The question is: are dark kitchens profitable? Dark kitchens have become significantly more popular in recent years. (A dark kitchen is a physical kitchen that only invests in home deliveries and does not serve food on site. The kitchen has no dining room, no serving staff and no seated guests – all that is needed is a kitchen and kitchen staff. Dark kitchens are also known as ghost kitchens, black kitchens, virtual kitchens or cloud kitchens.)
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Offering pick up and take-away food during the coronavirus pandemic became crucial for restaurants to stay afloat, and many have chosen to continue in business, meaning a host of dark kitchens have popped up all over the world. If the statistics are anything to go by, ghost kitchens are here to stay. After all, they make business sense, because having a ghost kitchen can radically reduce your expenses while keeping your revenue flowing.
Whether you are opening a brand new kitchen or you want to develop your existing restaurant, a dark kitchen is a great restaurant business. Via delivery services and delivery apps like Doordash or Ubereats, the walls of your restaurant do not define your growth and the apps make it easier for you try new concepts. Online, the same kitchen and the same staff can offer completely different types of dishes and concepts without having to make any major changes. Since everything is digital, the choices are endless.
Benefits of starting a dark kitchen?
Save money on premises and staff
By not having a traditional restaurant premises you can save vital costs on real estate rent and upkeep. Ghost kitchens require minimal staffing which will also save you money and a good central location for your kitchen space is of less importance when you are delivering take-away without a physical restaurant. Food waste is also kept to a minimum when you are operating in this way.
Grow your current business
Expanding your existing restaurant with take-away is much easier with a ghost kitchen. By having a separate kitchen that only offers take-away, your existing restaurant will not be affected by the change. You can also take the opportunity to try new dishes and concepts in your separate kitchen, which you can then apply to your restaurant if it turns out to be a winning concept. Many large restaurant brands such as McDonalds and Nandos have followed this concept in recent years and it’s had a big impact on their bottom line.
Lower your risk
Starting a dark kitchen, or expanding your existing restaurant with one, creates less risk than opening a regular restaurant with dining options. With limited startup costs also thrown into the mix, a dark kitchen can also be a good way to test your restaurant and food vision. When your black kitchen then starts to take off and do well, you can think about whether you want to develop your business.
Join others on the journey
If you don’t have the opportunity to open your own kitchen, you can rent a spot in an existing kitchen and join others on the journey. By doing so you avoid investing in any premises, machines and kitchen utensils. Maybe you can even share the kitchen with other businesses that have other working hours to keep costs down further? The opportunities are endless for virtual restaurants operating out of dark kitchens today.
There is no doubt about it, the restaurant industry is changing the way it operates. According to research by Statista, ghost kitchens are forecast to hold a 50 per cent share of the drive-thru and takeaway foodservice markets worldwide, respectively, by 2030. More and more people are choosing to order delivery and eat at home instead of eating at physical restaurants.
Digital payment solutions
Offering a seamless experience for your takeout customers is a must when operating a black kitchen. A dark kitchen is a delivery service, and integrating with delivery apps is crucial. Digital menus and digital payment solutions make the process simple and fast and match the virtual brand you want to create. QR-codes and digital menus are becoming more common, even in service-staffed restaurants and with digital menus, your ghost kitchen can have full control over what needs to be cooked. They also allow you to easily make adjustments, add new offers and update today’s lunch as the days go by. As aforementioned, the pandemic has also changed the way consumers want to eat and digital payment solutions are more hygienic, kinder to the environment and more cost effective. Your customers can easily see your menu and order and pay directly through their phone. It can’t get any smoother than that, can it?