Ghost Kitchens are seen as the future of the Restaurant Industry. While it is already gaining popularity, recently it’s the new found way of restaurateurs to continue with their Restaurant business. Its principles both support the idea to comply with the newly implemented health and safety protocols, and to recommence with the operation of their business.
Prior Covid-19, demands of the market for quality service and convenience have grown and restaurants have come up with a business model that’ll help them increase their meal and delivery production without the need of building or adding up another kitchen or storefront. Thus, the concept of Ghost Kitchen was born.
What is a Ghost Kitchen?
Also known as Virtual Kitchens or Cloud Kitchens, these are stripped-down commercial cooking co-working spaces with no dine-in option. Functioning as hubs for online delivery and catering orders, they circumvent the need for costly build outs in premium locations. (QSR Magazine)
This business model is good for those who are trying to start a new business concept, and to those who are trying to continue to operate their existing restaurant business. It is one of the most cost efficient business models where the operations are more focused with production, and there’s less need for management check. Restaurateurs also don’t have to mind about the location as Ghost Kitchens can and usually operate in areas with low to no foot traffic.
Staffing will also not be a problem as Ghost Kitchens only requires you to hire staff that’s needed to produce your food item. Low risk and low rent, these are good points for a business especially these days.
Modern dining experience is not just composed of food taste and quality. Convenience is now always demanded by customers, experience aside. As a restaurateur, you should come up on how to remodel your business to take this type of demand and deliver to your customers what they crave for, and exactly when they want it.
With all the restrictions given to outdoor socializing, Traditional restaurants are already looking for ways to get back on their feet with the help of Online Ordering, Curbside Service, Takeaway, and Deliveries. They are also checking the profitability of Ghost Kitchen as they see that one of the effects of Covid-19 is that customers are willing to shift with them online just to try out their food and service again.
Here are the modern rules for Ghost Kitchens, should you decide to try and check your concept with this business model :
TRANSFORM YOUR CONCEPT TO CAPTURE BROADER MARKET
Customer base is important in every business, and within the Restaurant Industry, it is no hiding that there’s a huge competition in attracting a larger group of customers. For Ghost Kitchens, this challenge is doubled. Since there’s low foot traffic in the area, Ghost Kitchens have low to zero exposure to customers. And with the increase of Online Ordering demands, restaurants also started transitioning online leading to a much more divided market.
Restaurateurs have to find ways on how to get ahead of the competition. With Ghost Kitchen, you’re given a freedom of control with your concept. You may try to check out different cuisines and concepts that are trending within the local community you’re catering. Monitor and learn to listen to the demand of your demographic. This should help you to conceptualize a much more diverse and broader market.
You may also look into the growing demand for food products such as organic and plant-based products, local-grown products, and the like.
Tip : Remember the trend around food halls and food parks? They’ve offered a well-diverse menu and captured a large market. Take this concept for your restaurant business and offer the same experience to your customer within the principles of Ghost Kitchens.
STEP OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE
If you’re a restaurateur who just shifted to Ghost Kitchen in order to adapt to the present situation, it is expected for you to be creative and think outside your comfort zone. In Ghost Kitchen, your concept will work only if it’s something that’s worth trying for. You have no ambiance and friendly staff to back you up this time, your food item will be the core of your restaurant business.
You have to make sure it’ll meet a demand that’s existing. Check the current market and observe the changes that happened. With the pandemic happening, there’s a big change with the demand and spending habits of customers. This gives you the chance to innovate your menu, modernize and revolutionize your dishes.
MAKE YOUR MENU DELIVERY-FRIENDLY
Since your food items will take its time before it ends up to the customers, you have to make sure that you’re offering food items that’ll still serve quality. This may be a challenge for traditional restaurants that adapted their operations with Ghost Kitchens.
Start by checking your ingredients and inventory and look at what you can offer. You should also analyze the inventory cost and how you can increase the profit margin. Maximize the potential of profitability being offered by Ghost Kitchens.
Don’t compromise quality just to meet the demand from your customers, because in the long run, there’ll be no demand for you if you’ll continue to serve them cold soup and stale bread.
Tip : While upgrading your menu, make sure you have a packaging that’ll handle these food items well.
DON’T COMPLICATE YOUR STAFFING METHOD
One of the selling points of Ghost Kitchen is it doesn’t require restaurateurs to gather a big team. Some of the most productive brands working with Ghost Kitchens usually only hire two chefs and one staff that packs the food item to be delivered.
Use of this advantage and make sure you’ve trained these staff well. Teach them to innovate and focus with the production of your food item. Make sure that they’re being efficient and effective as a support for your Restaurant business.
And if you’re just starting out, you may also opt to reach out to some of the restaurant staff that were laid off from their position, due to the effect of Covid-19 forcing restaurants to close down. They already have a substantial experience that will surely benefit you.
CONSIDER CUSTOMER SERVICE AS A GAME RUNNER
It may contradict the contactless service Ghost Kitchens are aiming for, but delivering customer service today doesn’t necessarily ask you to check your customers personally. You have to find a way on how your customers will still feel valued even though there’s no physical interaction.
Finding ways to humanize your Restaurant Business is quite a task but it is still doable. You can still continue to connect and engage with them by including personalized notes to their orders, answering reviews and utilizing UGC.
MAKE AN ONLINE PRESENCE
Online is your main platform to capture customers. Make sure your website is updated and user-friendly. That it can be accessed and understood easily by a wide-range of demographics. Build your brand online and connect to your existing and potential customers.
Don’t let the restrictions of Ghost Kitchens with customer-access affect your relationship with your customers. Utilize social media and other platforms for you to build a strong presence online.
Consider formulating a loyalty and reward program in order to increase interest for your Restaurant brand.
STEP UP YOUR DELIVERY-GAME
It is given that if you’re running a business with Ghost Kitchens, you already have a good knowledge about food delivery. But with the sudden growth in demand for delivery services, you should research platforms and technologies that could improve your service.
There are 3rd party apps available for you to check out. Look into their requirements for partnership and weigh if it’ll benefit you as a restaurateur. Monitoring and routing technologies are also given the spotlight. It allows your customers to track their deliveries. Make the right choices, though. For example, there have been problems with Deliveroo sign in.
Tip : Take advantage of the Gig Economy, should you find it much useful for your business.
This pandemic has caused the whole world to adjust to its ways, and with the Restaurant Industry trying to cope with these changes, they have used Ghost Kitchens as a fundamental operator to act as support to keep the industry going.