The Future of Ghost Kitchens

Where is the ghost kitchen trend headed?

In this final section of The Beginner’s Guide to Ghost Kitchens, we consider what lies ahead for the dining industry. Ghost kitchens came on the market quickly. Are they a fad or the future?

Are Ghost Kitchens Here to Stay?

Based on current trends, ghost kitchens will be integral to the future of the food industry. The global ghost kitchen market is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2030.

As QSR Magazine explains of the ghost kitchen model, “It’s an ever-more-appealing prospect as the $17 billion U.S. online food delivery market climbs toward a projected $24 billion by 2023, according to data portal Statista.”

Ghost kitchens won’t be going anywhere when Covid-19 social distancing measures ease. Philadelphia-based restaurateur Branden McRill explained this to the Today Show:

“The appeal of this flexibility and the variety of options won’t disappear when the pandemic is behind us, McRill said. Think about how we used to go to the movies, he said, when you had to watch whatever you could get tickets for at the time it was showing, vs the streaming era now, ‘where people want to get exactly what they want at exactly the time they want it,’ he said. People have short attention spans too, he said, and constantly want to try new things. More traditional restaurants will be hard pressed to keep up, he added.”

As they look forward to the future of dining, it seems likely that more and more traditional restaurants will invest in the virtual kitchen model.

The Future of Food Delivery

Although ghost kitchens decrease capex (capital expenses) and opex (operating expenses), they do present a potential challenge. How should virtual restaurants deal with delivery costs? Most investors in this area use third-party delivery apps to reach customers. But unfortunately, delivery apps’ high commission fees can cannibalize revenue earnings. Because the restaurant industry has low margins to begin with, profits earned may not be enough to cover revenue lost to delivery apps. 

Among the solutions looming on the horizon is the rise of mobile smart kitchens. As the name suggests, these are “kitchens on wheels” that come with smart technology to achieve a delivery-only framework. In 2019, Zume revolutionized restaurant delivery with the introduction of its Forward Mobile Kitchens. The kitchens are equipped with proprietary AI, predictive analytics platforms, and smart appliances. 

Proprietary online ordering is another emerging solution. Instead of relying on third-party apps, restaurants are now launching their own online ordering platforms. They link to their online ordering system from their website. When customers place orders for takeout or delivery, no commission fees are charged. 

In addition to higher profits, a proprietary restaurant online ordering system offers branding and marketing.

As more players enter the market, more innovations will emerge. Only time will tell what those innovations look like, but one thing is clear: Ghost kitchens are here to stay.


If you’re here, congratulations! It means you’ve read through The Beginner’s Guide to Ghost Kitchens and are ready to start or grow your own ghost kitchen operation. (If you’d like a PDF copy of the guide for future reference, you can download it for free here.)

Before opening a ghost kitchen, make sure you conduct plenty of research. Spend time weighing the pros and cons of each ghost kitchen type. Consider all potential pitfalls.

Since this model is still developing, pay attention to what other new ghost kitchen businesses are doing. Make sure your business model fits with consumer expectations and preferences. And please let us know how you’re doing! Email to touch base with our team and see if there’s anything we can help you with.

Best of luck with your ghost kitchen enterprise!

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