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100.000 Ghost kitchens and virtual restaurants are already operating in the United States


The break with the business on-premise in the restaurant environment has suffered an unexpected acceleration with the arrival of the pandemic. The crisis of the coronavirus has forced many establishments to re-evaluate their business model, sometimes prompting substantial changes in the mode of operation with which they had been working until then.

In some restaurants, far from causing negative damage to your economic performance, it has been rather a blessing, as it has freed the premises from the yokes that kept it at a level of productivity from which it was difficult to move.

With the arrival of the coronavirus crisis, the influx of customers through the establishment was drastically reduced. This caused many restaurants to explore alternatives to generate business. For many, the solution to their problems came from the hand of technology and the digitization, especially from the apps mobiles for order management online. For two or three years, in these applications the phenomenon of ghost kitchens and virtual restaurants proliferates.

For the uninitiated in these new models, the ghost kitchens They are restaurant businesses that do not have a place to serve the diner in situ. All the dishes they cook are intended for delivery. So that, they are very versatile restaurants; can operate as individual initiatives or provide to other restaurants. further, one of its advantages is the possibility of using premises with strategic locations that allow them to offer their service with shorter waiting times and incur fewer rental expenses.

On the other hand, the virtual restaurants are establishments that they only exist digitally. They do not have an assigned physical location or, yes there is, This has neither a dining room nor a kitchen, only one space for the packaging of food products and a locker for the collection of packed orders by the delivery men.

Thanks to these two concepts in exponential growth, many restaurants have been able to escape the shackles that held them and address new restoration niches that before were unattainable.

Apparently and according to surveys carried out in the American market, customers have no problem ordering food from this type of business, especially those under 35 years. He 63% percent of general consumers, and the 73% of those aged between 18 a 34, said they were likely to order food or drink from a restaurant that does not have a physical location. Only the 7% of the diners between 18 Y 34 years he said it was "not likely" that he would.

Many restaurants with these models can try one menu after another or different products without worrying about building a place., and check the available market for new concepts. The hyper-reduced cost of building a new gastronomic adventure has led to the creation of some business models that would otherwise be unfeasible.

As shown in the following graphic, For the majority of customers, the fact that it occurs in these ghost kitchens instead of traditional restaurant kitchens is no problem ordering food at home..

Some market analysts, among which is Sterling Douglass, CEO of the Chowly POS production company, they estimate that they exist nowadays more of 100 000 establishments under the category of ghost kitchen or virtual restaurant. A not inconsiderable number that highlights the importance of this market segment in the American restaurant sector.

Some traditional brands that were already testing the idea at the beginning of the year have stepped on the accelerator to implement their virtual restaurants as soon as possible. This is the case of Dog Haus, the franchise specializing in hot dogs that now ships many other products:

  • Fried chicken and associated specialties through the virtual brand Bad Mutha Clucka
  • Vegan foods and meat substitutes of plant origin via Plant B
  • Mexican Food for Breakfast or Lunch via Bad-Ass Breakfast Burritos
  • Signature burgers and gourmet con Freiburg

Some restaurants use what we explain in Diego Coquillat School, and within the Delivery Marketing course, DELIVERY SEO, which involves the study of traffic and searches with high frequency geolocated by areas of gastronomic categories to create concepts with a high demand from them.

Taking these virtual brands to a new level requires a huge effort of marketing online what, as usual, goes through associating the new concepts with the pre-existing traditional restaurants from where they are managed. And the obvious differences between the niches being served can cause friction that must be optimized..

It's without doubt that the short-term profitability of these strategies is more than proven, new business models needed for the sector in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

About the Author

Article by the editorial team of DiegoCoquillat.com. It has professionals both in the field of hospitality, gastronomy and tourism, and new technologies and innovation.


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