The ghost kitchens or dark kitchen, restaurants without service on-premise or in the establishment, no pickup options in situ, appeared just a few years ago. With the arrival of the coronavirus crisis, its adoption has accelerated at great speeds. So much so, that the concept itself is in the process of transformation.
Restaurants are no longer the only ones interested in this idea. Since the blurring of the boundaries between restaurants and grocery stores is one of the macro trends underlying the current market, dark kitchens have attracted the attention of the food industry.
The core of the strategy remains the same, However. The objective is to reach the end customer directly through a technological channel. In this case, applications for order management online and interfaces of food delivery companies are the main routes used.
So, the technology it is one of the fundamental aspects when implementing a successful ghost kitchen. It is increasingly common for consumers to reach the restaurant through their computer or smartphone, and this results in the importance of the physical location decreasing over time..
In fact, the newly opened restaurants of famous organized catering brands specializing in the fast food niche are inaugurated with a substantially less interior useful surface. An example of this paradigm shift are the establishments that the hamburger franchise Burger King recently opened as part of its "Restaurants of Tomorrow" plan. Son a 60 percent smaller than its predecessors.
But architectural changes aside, the most obvious innovations are observed in the mode of operation within the premises. It is well known that the average restaurateur collaborates with more than one partner for their catering needs. delivery and reservation management. The use of specific programs for each of these partners causes real headaches. Luckily the software with centralization and application integration options. Ordatic offer this type of systems, and are practically a must-use when running a ghost kitchen. They make life much easier for the restaurant professional.
Technological solutions not only concern the operation of the premises. Without a building that can be visited by the diner, locating the business can be very difficult for potential clients. Therefore the tools to make the dark kitchen or virtual restaurant visible become more relevant. To improve marketing brand digital there are companies like Lunchbox, that greatly facilitate the discovery of the establishment to third parties. Recently, Lunchbox has collaborated with C3 (Creating Culinary Communities), a ghost kitchen society, to achieve a higher business volume than they used to receive.
Ghost kitchens also have their own problems. One of the most conflictive points emanates from the need to collaborate with a food delivery company if you do not have your own fleet. The smooth running of these companies is undeniable. Nevertheless, restaurants lose control over their brand image, customer information and incur sometimes abusive rates. All these points are especially flagrant in the case that concerns us, since any economic viability of the project is based on a strong brand image. Some white marks like DoorDash Drive they are putting all the meat on the grill to find solutions. They already allow a greater control of the interface exposed to the end user by restaurant.
The only option apart from this small group of food delivery companies that offer greater control to their partners is to have a own delivery fleet. It is not an idea that has been completely discarded, much less. In fact, In recent months we have witnessed more and more independent restaurants and groups double their efforts on this front..
The viability of this service in-house it is more than proven, pizzerias have been doing it for decades, and dominant brands in the sector such as Domino’s Pizza they do not show signs that this is going to change. The difficulty is in how to make this strategy work for the small restaurant.. In this sense, it may be interesting to attend to future movements of Panda Express, a medium-sized chain that has just entered the mobility market with its own fleet of delivery people.
The number of ghost kitchens has reached a new high this year. Some analysts place the total number of these types of restaurants around the 100.000 establishments. The business model is driven by major players in the delivery, as may be Deliveroo O Uber Eats, But the coronavirus crisis has also greatly energized and accelerated the adoption of these peculiar restaurants.
There is no doubt that, as long as the market continues to contract on-premise, the dark kitchen will stand as one viable alternative, economical and low risk for large population centers. It remains to be seen what is the level of penetration that they reach in the market during 2021 Y 2022, years that will foreseeably continue to be marked by the current coronavirus crisis.