The entry of the restaurant trade in dark kitchens
The most popular restaurants are venturing into the world of ghost kitchen, which is helping them to cut running costs and gain profitability.
Ghost kitchens have been witnessing a surge growth in recent years. The rise of delivery platforms and mobile apps have made their consolidation.
Unlike traditional business models, the virtual, dark or ghost kitchens can supply their customers’ demand without the need to have a physical establishment with service to the public. Instead, the investment is focused on online customer service and marketing, as well as food preparation and constant improvement of the production process.
This has made many fast food restaurants look favourably on this business model, which has led them to open new operating hubs, renting spaces in different urban environments to be able to focus solely on home delivery sales.
A trend that is being seen in the world of catering is the transformation of many fast food and food chains. At the same time that they are shutting down establishments, they are making a firm commitment to the ghost kitchen model.
This is the case, for example, of the Starbucks coffee chain, which has closed 300 stores in Canada, while at the same time enhancing its business model focused on online shopping and home delivery. This same trend is observed in Spain, where companies such as Avanza Food, owner of chains such as La Chelinda, Carl’s Junior or Tony Roma’s, are investing in this business model and opening new dark kitchens.
Although this has benefited big restaurateurs for the most part, local businesses or nationwide firms are aiming during the pandemic for the visibility that delivery apps have presented them to supply a growing market.
One of the main advantages of this business model is the reduction of costs, since the product is only produced on demand, and this makes it possible to greatly reduce food waste. In addition, the data allows companies to know in more detail the tastes of consumers and make more accurate forecasts. By having greater certainty and lower costs, the company can more easily consolidate its business model and expand to new locations.
The dark kitchen model coexists with the model of traditional restaurant chains. While it is true that for years there was the possibility of home delivery, the increase in demand and the rise of delivery platforms have revolutionised the sector.
Both the purchasing process and the logistics chain have evolved significantly, reducing production and delivery times, as well as improving customer knowledge and increasing profitability.
However, the rise of dark kitchens poses interesting challenges that restaurant and catering companies must solve to penetrate successfully with this business model.
The growth in demand is so high that many traditional restaurants that previously only provided a pick-up service in their bricks and mortar establishments are now opening ghost kitchens exclusively to facilitate production in certain geographical areas.
On the other hand, dark kitchens cannot function internally in the same way as a traditional establishment. The volume of sales the dark kitchen can achieve is much greater, since it is not limited by the physical space of the restaurant. Therefore, it is essential to have sufficient storage space and equipment to keep pace with demand.
Popular restaurants that already had home delivery services have seen sales channels multiply. Order management becomes much more complex, so it is essential to use solutions such as Bistrohub to facilitate the reception of orders from multiple channels (different platforms, apps, website, telephone, etc.) and the work organisation in the kitchen.
Although restaurants and chains can reduce operating costs thanks to ghost kitchens, to give greater weight to dark kitchens in the volume of business it is necessary to evaluate costs and understand the dynamics of demand.
Thus, there are spaces that require the opening of virtual kitchens in new locations, since physical establishments cannot meet this demand at the same time as that of the people who come to the restaurant. Moreover, the reduction in physical establishments must be implemented in accordance with the comparative data of demand and sales from different geographical areas.
With solutions like Bistrohub you can focus on reducing costs, improving efficiency and growing the profitability of your virtual kitchens. In addition, through data analysis you can improve the decision-making process and optimise your strategy to be more competitive.
If you’re interested in improving and centralising the management of your dark kitchens, you can arrange a demo with us.