Some famous names in the food service industry are appearing under completely different names on popular delivery apps.
The trend is known as ghost restaurants.
Ghost Restaurants Appearing on Delivery Apps
A ghost restaurant, also known as a virtual restaurant, is a business that offers take out only. It gets the “ghost” moniker because they don’t have a storefront and they are devoid of dining customers. This means no tables, and customers can’t come to pick up their own food. It is all delivery. They use a third-party delivery service to serve their customers. However, it is important to note chain restaurants are using some of their locations as a ghost restaurant.
A ghost kitchen also called a cloud kitchen or dark kitchen is a facility with professional food preparation and cooking equipment. Restaurants use this space to produce only delivery foods. In most cases, the users already have a brick-and-mortar restaurant for dine-in service or takeout.
Similarly, large franchise restaurants are also using their existing stores as ghost kitchens to only serve delivery orders.
Who is Using the Ghost Restaurants and Kitchens?
Everyone from Chick-fil-A to Fatburger, Famous Dave’s, and Johnny Rockets as well as many high-end restaurateurs are adopting the model. Local small restaurants and even lunch trucks are also jumping on the bandwagon to address the delivery segment of their business.
Benefits of Ghost Restaurants and Kitchens
One of the reasons restaurateurs are adopting these models is cost. It is much cheaper to rent a ghost kitchen or use an existing space just for delivery. And the savings are across the board.
You will need less space, and less space means a lower lease/rent price for the property. And this includes parking, which is a big issue for restaurants big and small. The savings also extend to staff because you are going to need fewer employees. Food waste, inventory, marketing, and insurance can be optimized and improved. And the good news is restaurants of any size can use these models to keep their business going or even expanding.
This is a Permanent Change for the Restaurant Industry
The change brought on by digital technology was evident before the pandemic. Restaurateurs were seeing the benefits, but with the lingering pandemic, new models of operation had to be adopted. According to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), restaurants have to find innovative ways to promote their brands and expand online offerings.
The ghost kitchens that were popping up to save restaurants money now looked incredibly attractive. Not only that but expanding them to ghost restaurants was also alluring as people were already not dining in because of COVID-19 restrictions. So, the perfect storm was in place to make ghost kitchens and restaurants viable alternatives.
Additionally, these models provide entrepreneurs in the foodservice industry with more options for specialization. This is because the operations are leaner, they cost much less, and can adapt quickly to new food trends. These are all features that will ensure ghost kitchens and restaurants will be a permanent fixture of business operation in the foodservice industry.