Once you’ve launched your ghost kitchen, you’re on your way to business growth. Here are some key things to keep in mind as you set profit goals and work to meet — or exceed — them.
Experiment with New Concepts and Menu Ideas
Because you can make changes to your online menu on the fly, ghost kitchens allow you to experiment with new ideas and concepts. You could add a special midday snack or remove an item during the evening when you’re short on ingredients. Your culinary team will appreciate this flexibility. They’ll also enjoy the opportunity to explore and experiment in ways that on-premise teams cannot because of overhead and static print menus.
Changing your menu is also important as you assess your sales data to see which menu items are worth keeping, and which are not worth their lower ROI. Engineering your menu allows you to increase revenue without having to sacrifice food quality.
Start by analyzing the profitability of every menu item. Place the most profitable items at the top of the menu. The goal is to attract more customers to these items and encourage them to order more of them. Include compelling food photos, tempting menu item details, and attractive backgrounds. Make sure it’s easy to navigate between different menu sections.
Use Date to Improve Profit Margins
The flexibility offered by ghost kitchens allows you to change your menu items anytime to meet evolving customer demands and market trends. Use the data collected by your online ordering platform and POS to determine what is selling and how often. Some online ordering platforms allow you to get granular in your data reporting, for instance by providing analytics on coupon redemptions, the number of registered guests, order histories, etc. Based on this information, you can adjust your food offerings to achieve maximum profits.
Your restaurant data may reveal that pizzas sell the most during lunch near the beach, while salads are most popular after 6pm in the suburbs. Having this data will help you adjust pricing and quantities to achieve higher profit margins. For instance, you might offer lobster as an upsell add-on to your salad. (In general, upsells are a great way to boost check averages while maintaining the same amount of labor and time in the kitchen.)
Besides your sales reporting, another good source of data is customer feedback. Your online ordering platform may allow your customers to provide valuable feedback. You can also check internet reviews to find out what customers are looking for and what they think about your food. Using this data, you can improve the quality of your food and how it’s delivered.
The goal of data assessment is to reprioritize your efforts to always focus on your best-selling menu items. If it’s not the foundation for business improvements, data is just a bunch of numbers.
Be Strict on Quality and Consistency
With a ghost kitchen, you never get to meet your customers face to face. The only interaction you have is through your food. Since customers don’t visit your establishment, you don’t need to worry about ambience and décor. Your focus is, above all, on the consistency and quality of your food and its delivery.
In essence, your food becomes both your business and your brand. The higher quality your customers consider your food to be, the more likely they are to stick around and recommend your ghost kitchen. Every single meal you deliver should have high quality that you can take pride in.
Control Your Ghost Kitchen Inventory
Inventory control is critical to keeping food costs low, preventing waste, and improving your ghost kitchen’s bottom line. One of the most important things you can do to ensure that your ghost kitchen turns into a thriving enterprise is to stay on top of your food inventory.
During the initial stages of your business, try to keep inventory levels as low as possible. Create a limited menu to keep food costs low as well. Consider this time an opportunity to figure out what customers are looking for and adjust your stock accordingly. Check your inventory costs and food waste often, and make smart adjustments that will help your profit margins.
To use every item in your inventory and minimize food waste, offer daily specials that incorporate surplus ingredients. The goal is to make the most out of what you’ve already purchased and keep food costs down.
As your business grows, use your sales data to forecast demand and plan inventory. Forecasting will help you make optimal ordering decisions for your virtual kitchen. That way, you will be covering baseline demand while reducing the amount of food left on the shelf. The process of assessing your data, forecasting inventory, and making purchasing decisions will become easier as your business grows.
Track the Profitability of Your Delivery Service
Ensure your business’s financial health by tracking the profitability of your ghost kitchen. If you’ve added a ghost kitchen to your already existing restaurant business, treat it as a separate location. That way, you can track the profit margin of your physical location separately from your ghost kitchen, to make better decisions for your business.