The pandemic has seen soaring orders for home food delivery. Before, we just ordered the typical pizzas when we wanted to enjoy a match or a movie in the company of family or friends. However, the need to protect ourselves from Covid-19 by staying at home has meant we have to place many more orders online to receive them in our home.
The arrival of the pandemic has also changed the situation of restaurants. The restrictions imposed by the various governments have forced them to shut down their dining rooms or drastically reduce the maximum diner capacity. In addition, those who already had a pick-up service from the vehicle have been snowed under by the demand. For all of the above reasons, many restaurant and catering establishments have begun to open ghost kitchens.
Ghost or virtual kitchens, which are increasingly popular, are facilities where food is prepared mostly for home delivery, although some do also allow customers to pick up orders from their car. Ghost kitchens don’t need a dining area or waiting staff, and they don’t have to be located in costly premises in the city centre, so they offer a great profitability.
In this article, we will see how the Chick Fil A restaurant chain improved the customer experience of its patrons thanks to its ghost kitchens and online ordering. We will also talk about the importance of having good software for virtual kitchens.
Before the pandemic, the US restaurant chain Chick Fil A, specialising in chicken, already offered its customer three ways to enjoy its sandwiches, fries, milkshakes and waffles: in the restaurant, to take away and to order from one’s car.
However, the health crisis meant many changes in Chick Fil A. Since the dining area had to be closed down, the customers had to buy their menus from the car or use apps to order food home delivery (a formula which, as we have said, has boomed during the pandemic). Both options produced the same result: endless queues at the order collection hatches.
Now, the restaurant chain is responding to this high demand by opening ghost kitchens where the menus are prepared for home delivery or to take away. What’s more, customers can place their orders by using an app, so there is not need for Chick Fil A’s kitchens to be in central or busy locations in the city, which would increase the costs.
Thanks to this new business strategy, the Chick Fil A chain has improved the customer experience of its clientèle, as the ghost kitchens make it possible to achieve a faster home delivery and shorter wait at the hatch to pick up the order from the car.
If you have a restaurant and you’re thinking that it would suit you to transform it into a virtual or ghost kitchen, you must bear in mind that you will receive a very high number of home delivery orders. What’s more, the customer expects their order to arrive in a reasonable time, that it will be exactly what they ordered and that it is of the same quality as if they had it in the restaurant. To meet their expectations, you must put in place a process that will allow you to reduce as much as possible the time it takes between receiving the order and delivering it, no matter how big your sales turnover is.
Taking orders through a traditional computer program or by telephone, with the expense of having staff dedicated exclusively to it, is not a practical system for making a ghost kitchen efficient. The best solution is to use software as a service (SaaS) that is cloud-based and specialised in dark kitchens. This type of software makes it easy for the customer to place their orders and sends them directly to the kitchen, thus speeding up their preparation. In addition, it enables you to keep tabs at all times on your inventory and your sales turnover.
The order aggregator Bistrohub is a comprehensive solution to the daily problems of dark kitchens. The following are just some of its functionalities:
Bistrohub is the perfect tool to manage your ghost kitchen in a simple say, safe time and money, and optimise your customer service. Don’t hesitate, contact us and request your demo with absolutely no commitment.