How Covid Expedites the Rise of the Ghost Kitchens?
Covid has been a blessing and curse for businesses. While some bite the dust, some rose to fame. The restaurant industry took a big hit due to the pandemic; however, it made ghost kitchens a blooming concept.
Virtual brands and Ghost Kitchens have been the theme for the pandemic.
As people started ordering food from home rather than going out, Ghost Kitchen became more popular for good.
According to stats shared by the market research company Euromonitor, “Ghost Kitchen” is moving towards a $1 trillion industry. Amidst the pandemic, restaurants owners shared that 40% of their total revenue was generated from food delivery and online orders.
To keep the revenue rolling and the profits coming, getting creative was one of the only solutions the small business owners had, hence Ghost Kitchens.
Though they don’t offer the artistry or friendliness of a sit-in restaurant, they are efficient and cost-effective.
What Are Ghost Kitchens?
No, they are not restaurants with ghosts of chefs working in the kitchen. However, that would have been something. I’m sure the food would have tasted out of this world, quite literally.
Ghost kitchens are non-customer-facing restaurants from where you can only opt for food delivery services. They don’t have a sit-in or takeaway service. Ghost kitchens are also known as dark kitchens and cloud kitchens.
The ghost kitchen concept allows restaurants to run their business without even opening the front doors. As a result, it has a better economic footprint and requires much lower operational costs.
China is the frontrunner in the ghost kitchen industry with 7,500 ghost kitchens spread across the country, followed by India, the US, and the UK, with each having 3500, 1500, and 750 ghost kitchens, respectively.
Ghost kitchen collaborates with third-party delivery partners like UberEats, Zomato, etc., to deliver food to customers.
Most ghost kitchens don’t have the resources to have their own delivery service, so they choose to collaborate with third-party delivery platforms.
Since front-of-house service is absent, some use wireless kitchen calling to improve their efficiency and service speed. Once the order is received, the same is conveyed through the app to the kitchen.
Pros and Cons of Ghost Kitchens
The pandemic has no near-end insight with more waves on their way. This will eventually force more restaurant owners to either pull down their shutter, either temporarily/permanently or convert into ghost kitchens.
As we talked about how ghost kitchen is turning into a profitable venture for business, but there is always another side. Though the advantages are lucrative, the idea comes with a list of cons too.
Pros of Ghost Kitchen in 2021
When a business hits rock bottom and you start scratching your savings, there is no alternative than to improvise.
Here are the best advantages of having ghost kitchens.
Ghost Kitchen doesn’t need a spacious place, eventually resulting in a smaller environmental footprint. Removing the complimentary cutleries and full-blown-customer-facing accommodations, Ghost kitchens naturally improves sustainability.
The most obvious reason for a ghost kitchen is the cost-effective solution. Not only does it allow dying businesses to get back on their feet, but also helps to cut down overall operational cost.
Moreover, when planning a brick-and-mortar restaurant, you will need to consider the cost for licenses, permits, inspection, equipment, etc. With ghost kitchens having none of the overhead costs, it becomes a highly feasible alternative.
You can add more items to the menu, like homemade foods, or trim down your menu to basics for a more cost-effective business solution. When it comes to ghost kitchens, there are many ways for you to twist and tweak your menu without ruining your customer experience.
Meets Customer Expectation
28% of restaurant owners are planning to convert into ghost kitchens. This is because even after the pandemic ends, people will keep on opting for food delivery.
Cons of Ghost Kitchen
The twisted part of ghost kitchen is that the pros can be cons. Like:
Third-Party Delivery Can Affect Business
Though third-party delivery can be cost-effective, depending on your location and cost, it can turn out to be expensive. Moreover, if something goes wrong with the delivery, the blame will somehow fall on the restaurant rather than the delivery partner.
Lack of Connection With Customers
There will be a complete absence of communication between business and their customers. Chefs won’t receive any direct compliments, waiters won’t get any tips, and owners can’t experience the face of satisfaction when customers enjoy the food.
Meals Need To Be Tailored For Delivery
When in a restaurant, you have total control of how the meal will be presented to the customers. When you are delivering, you don’t have control over the presentation. The garnishes that were meant to make the first bite crunchy may get soggy, the sauce might get mixed up, or the food may get cold and look way less attractive.
Though with the number of cons, ghost kitchens are a silver lining to the dying restaurants. Rather than shutting down the business entirely, it gives them the opportunity to continue their business minus the glam.