Is the ghost kitchen business model right for you? Find out in this chapter of The Beginner’s Guide to Ghost Kitchens.
Who Is Involved in the Ghost Kitchen Trend?
Ghost kitchens are a popular choice for both new and existing restaurants. Since they’re easy to start and operate, practically anyone can invest in a ghost kitchen.
Ghost kitchens can help existing restaurants adapt to shifting trends and market dynamics. Restaurants with physical locations can create new revenue streams amid a sea of high rents and saturated markets. The wider a restaurant’s delivery range, the more potential customers it can reach.
New Entrants in the Industry
The restaurant industry has undergone significant changes over the past few years. Those wishing to join the industry must adapt to these changes, and they should apply a business model that allows for flexibility. Ghost kitchens fit the bill.
Who Can Invest in Ghost Kitchens?
People in the following categories can benefit from starting a ghost kitchen:
- Entrepreneurs and new chefs – Ghost kitchens let entrepreneurs launch lower-risk, lower-cost restaurant brands. They can try out their idea and gauge interest without the burdens of brick-and-mortar dining. Ghost kitchens are an attractive investment because of their low setup costs. As a new entrant into the market, you may not have the resources to compete with larger brands. Additionally, you may not qualify for bulk order discounts. With a virtual kitchen, you can test the waters as your business grows organically.
- Restaurants seeking to expand offerings – With the increasing demand for food delivery, many existing restaurants are developing virtual off-premise kitchens to help streamline operations. Some brands embrace third-party delivery services to increase their visibility and reach. Others use their own staff for delivery. Still others use both third-party delivery services and their own commission-free delivery. For instance, they can use a white-label online ordering platform with built-in delivery tools, while also making their food available on platforms like Uber Eats.
- Restaurants seeking to expand reach – Small restaurants can benefit from opening a ghost kitchen instead of launching a second or third location. A ghost kitchen allows you to expand your geographic reach and grow your customer list without the risks of an expensive buildout. You can still focus on an exceptional dine-in experience, while also connecting with customers who prefer food delivery.
- Established chains – Virtual kitchens give multi-unit chains a simple way to address changing consumer demands. They already have the space and resources; launching a ghost kitchen allows them to tap into new, wider markets.
- Content creators and influencers – Food enthusiasts who are also content creators can use the ghost kitchen concept to launch a business. Chefs, influencers, and digital or print food publications can turn their passion into a new restaurant brand.
- Food truck owners – Food truck owners often face space constraints and can’t offer dine-in or in-person food service. It can be hard for food truck cooks to meet the demand — which, in turn, can be frustrating for customers. With a ghost kitchen, food truck owners can deliver food without sacrificing quality. They can also save the order time lost when having to shut off delivery during events.
- Campus-specific dining – Many corporate and university caterers struggle with the demand for delivery in their areas of service. Trying to achieve a balance between dine-in and delivery can put a strain on staff. It can also erode both the in-person experience and the quality of food. A separate ghost kitchen will not only streamline workflow, but it will also alleviate the pain of meeting demand from both ends.