How Do Ghost Kitchens Work?

Operational procedures at a virtual restaurant

Ghost kitchen operations are simple and, when done right, smooth sailing. This chapter of The Beginner’s Guide to Ghost Kitchens delves into how they work.

The Basics of Ghost Kitchen Operations

Using a ghost kitchen involves renting space in a facility, ideally in a well-populated area. You then launch online ordering and delivery. You can use either your online ordering platform or delivery apps for delivery, or you can use both. Customers could also contact your restaurant through your website or a proprietary app. The ghost kitchen customer views your menu, places an order, and makes a payment using a credit card. When an order comes in, the kitchen staff is notified. They start preparing the order in the rented kitchen space.

Once the food is ready, your restaurant’s or a third-party service’s driver transports it to the customer. After the order is fulfilled and the transaction complete, the funds are released to the business. 

Some ghost kitchens choose to keep their traditional service at a physical location, while serving a selection of meals ordered online. This could mean serving food to their patrons or to other restaurants on demand. While some share kitchen facilities or staff, others run parallel kitchens to meet demand. 

Ghost Kitchen Business Model Examples

Several real-world examples explain the concept behind the ghost kitchen business model. Taster and Keatz are two restaurant-owned ghost kitchens that focus on delivery-only operations. At Taster, founded in Paris and now in Madrid and London as well, the ghost kitchen infrastructure involves preparing a variety of meals from Vietnamese, Korean, and Hawaiian cuisines. They then partner with services like Uber Eats and Deliveroo for food delivery.

On the other hand, Keatz operates a virtual restaurant chain for offices and households to meet the demand for fast-casual food delivery. They focus on fresh salads and fast snacks. These are delivered on eco-friendly scooters, enabling on-demand fast-casual meal delivery.

Ghost kitchens can have different business models, but the goal remains the same: reduce costs and increase customer convenience. Whether you adopt a third-party-delivery-first model or a model that prioritizes commission-free ordering, a ghost kitchen offers you flexible options. You can run a single-brand ghost kitchen or rent space in a multi-brand ghost kitchen. Or you can even choose to prep food for multiple brands at once.

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