We have seen a few dark, or ghost kitchens appear on Buzz-it over the past few months. It’s great to see entrepreneurs be brave enough to launch new ventures and take risks during the pandemic. It’s a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
But are they sustainable? Are they a viable business model that can survive the reopening of society?
What is a ghost kitchen?
A ghost kitchen is a premises set up to cook purely for delivery. There is no front of house, no seating and no bar. It’s an arrangement that deals purely in food delivery and is built entirely around food ordering apps.
The setup is cheaper than a traditional restaurant, has fewer overheads and is much easier to set up and run. You don’t need a high street presence with the rents and rates that come with it and you don’t need many staff.
All you need is a chef or two, Buzz-it and a desire to work hard to succeed.
Are they a sustainable business model?
We consider the ghost kitchen model itself to be sustainable. The buying public are now very used to food delivery and are increasingly willing to order in and experiment with food.
What will make or break the venture is your ability to compete. You’ll be up against established brands with decades of experience. You’ll also be up against other entrepreneurs trying to satisfy the same market as you.
Ghost kitchens are cheaper to set up and run than a restaurant but they are still expensive. To succeed you’re going to need a USP, a signature dish, to ace a cuisine that’s in demand but under-served or some other method of standing out in a crowded marketplace.
You’ll also need the processes in place to satisfy orders and deliver them quickly. Slow delivery is a primary complaint of food deliveries so if you can overcome that, you can do anything!
Are they a passing fad?
We do not think ghost kitchens are a passing fad. We do think there will be the boom we’re seeing now before natural selection kicks in. Once the world reopens again and customers have the option to eat-in once more, we think many ghost kitchens will not survive.
The model itself will and those ghost kitchens delivering what customers need will remain. The model, the food delivery business and the convenience it offers customers is too good to ignore and the habit has had over a year to become ingrained in our consciousness.
In a society moving steadily towards instant gratification, what delivers on both of those things like food delivery providing restaurant quality food, on demand, at a time and place to suit the consumer?