The dark kitchen: the new era of restaurant virtualisation

The dark kitchen is a recent development, emerging from the growth of home delivery service. The world has not come to a standstill, it keeps changing and evolving all the time. Kitchens and kitchen services are no exception. 

The technology and the world of applications have invaded almost every aspect of our lives, including food. This has triggered a huge increase in the consumption of home delivery services. And it has given rise to a new approach in the gourmet industry: the dark kitchen.

What is a dark kitchen?

The dark kitchen is a product of virtualisation, the rise of applications in tandem with home delivery services. Perhaps this is why it is also known as cloud kitchen, ghost kitchen or virtual kitchen.

It is a new way of sole delivery that may up and coming restaurants have adopted. In this approach, the sale is made exclusively for delivery. That is, the physical space is eliminated, as are the tables, customer service and contact with the customer, The whole process is carried out online or via an app.

This is a new approach which has brought a large number of benefits in many aspects. From the management point of view, it can mean a considerable reduction in the amount that needs to be invested. In addition, it is an attractive way to meet the demands of new digitalised market.

Some dark kitchen operations work under a network setup. This works on the basis of a main kitchen where the food is prepared, It is then distributed to a group of sub-kitchens. When a customer places an order, it is fulfilled from the nearest kitchen to speed up the delivery.

The dark kitchen: a viable transformation

The commercial viability of the dark kitchen is much more appealing in investment terms, as it requires far less in terms of infrastructure, rental and labour costs. Which means a significant saving in expense and maintenance.

These economies strengthen other important aspects of this activity. Firstly, customer service can be optimised by reducing delivery times. Even more so if one implements the system of kitchens distributed at several locations, Likewise, one can devote more attention to the quality of the product.

What’s more, dark kitchens give one more flexibility in the range of products one can offer and the menu. In this way, it becomes easier to follow trends, fashions and customers’ demands, because it is no longer necessary to have a physical restaurant on a premises. And in this way, one can add greater flexibility to the meals on offer..

Accordingly, the dark kitchen is a major opportunity for growth and expansion. Because it offers the possibility of offering different brands from the same kitchen. This means you can reach more customers, cater for more tastes and preferences. And, at the end of the day, this translates as more demand.

How to manage a dark kitchen successfully

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Although they serve the same purpose,  dark kitchens and conventional restaurants differ considerably in their approach. Beyond the lack of a physical space, the former operates in much more competitive market in which factors such as efficiency and quality play a vital role.

This is why offering a good range of gastronomic products is so vital. As with traditional restaurants, diners expect to enjoy quality food. This goes hand in hand with service and efficient delivery.

It is also important to bear in mind the changeable and competitive nature of the digital market. In this regard, offering a unique and distinctive service is decisive. It is also important to have a good image in your online menu and provide detailed and attractive information for consumers.

Likewise, communication with customers is very helpful when it comes to growing the brand. Developing a good marketing strategy involves much more than advertising. It encompasses small but very important details such as presence and constant interaction in social media. These are factors that, in conjunction with the quality of the products, boost customer loyalty and retention.

The dark kitchen: new challenges

The dark kitchen arises from the need to adapt to the new normal and new generations. However, it is an idea that challenges everyone involved in gastronomy and those who enjoy the experience of eating out in restaurants and their tables.

Apart from this, there is a reinvention in the interaction between entrepreneurs, chefs and their customers. Reactions do not occur immediately or face to face. On the contrary, one must study the facts and figures of supply and demand. Furthermore, you must open up channels for feedback that will enable you to keep in touch with consumers.

Online reputation. Because the opinions consumers form are persistent and changeable. Nevertheless, the presence of such comments is decisive when they make a choice. This is a point where a good marketing strategy and service quality are essential.

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A kitchen of orders in the cloud

Technology has radically changed the way we see the world. It is a factor that is ushering in an environment that is increasingly digitalised and centralised. One in which every service must be at the touch of a button. The dark kitchen is a trend that seeks to adapt the food and catering industry to this reality.

This is why having a good management platform to centralise several platforms, brands, menus, tenants and locations is more important than ever. Avoiding dozens of tablets, lost and delayed orders, effectively streamlining your dark kitchen operations. With Bistrohub you can simplify your delivery operations and add as many sale channels and brands as you want.

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