Crossing over: A guide to multi-location Ghost Kitchens

Popular fast-food restaurant, Wendy’s has turned to ghost kitchens (also known as dark, cloud or virtual kitchens) to expand their business operations without the “high real estate costs.” Abigail Pringle, Wendy’s chief development officer, stated ghost kitchens would be a significant part of the chain’s expansion strategy.
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Ghost Kitchens are cheaper to run and if run right, businesses will reap the rewards. 

Ghost kitchens are strategically placed, delivery-only kitchens. Ghost kitchens have become attractive to fast-food outlets like Chik-Fil-A, and Halal Bros because of their low maintenance and overhead costs.

The concept enables restaurants to grow profits in busy areas with minimal upfront investments along with lower overheads – prime real estate is no longer a necessity.

If you are looking to cross over to Ghost Kitchens, here are some tips to help you get set up. 

Location & food

Although you may not have customers walking in the front door of your restaurant the old saying, “location, location, location” still applies. Delivery time is your way to get the upper hand on your competition. When you are looking at the neighbourhood or area your serving you need to ask if it is an affluent one? And is it packed with people looking for your type of delicious food?

Urban settings are optimally ideal for ghost kitchens given their dense populations and food ordering habits as opposed to rural areas. You may have to foster a stronger relationship with your customers if you are going for the rural route.

How long does it take for your food to get cold is another question? For example, Japanese food like sushi travels well because it traditionally served cold and pizza retains heat really well for delivery while Full English Breakfasts will get scrambled during delivery.

Running your new kitchen

One of the exciting things about starting up your own ghost kitchen is the low start-up costs. If you haven’t found your kitchen, OccupyD, Food Stars and Kitch-Up are three companies that will help you find a commercial kitchen. Working like an AirBnb for commercial kitchens to rent, OccupyD, Food Stars and Kitch Up help you explore the right fit for your commercial kitchen.

When you are renting a commercial kitchen you are paying for the time you are using the space. Ghost kitchens, in general, are all about savings. To make savings, make sure you have your workforce management technology to save on labour costs so you are paying for the minute and not the hour.

Commissary kitchens are more likely to be expensive as they work as shared spaces owned by a third party. The big plus is you don’t have the responsibilities of owning and operating the building. If you do have the extra money, you can always buy your kitchen. 

As you enter this exciting time doing business in a new way, you will have to make sure you are licensed correctly. The Government’s license finder will help you determine the licenses you need to be compliant and truly deliver an amazing service. The brilliant thing about the license finder is you will be able to see what you need to have a legitimate business in the Uk. Click here to find the licenses you need.

Delivery services

Popular delivery companies like Just Eat, Deliveroo and Uber Eats have the market share of users on their platforms, for a price – they charge up to 30% of the dish you’re serving. Yes, you will be given a better space to advertise your business on these platforms, but you will be in competition with other businesses with the same idea. Flipdish is a start-up allowing restaurants to create their own branded food ordering website, “in minutes.”

Sales Forecasting

Once you started making sales in your ghost kitchen, to better understand what the future holds for your business, sales forecasting measures are useful for making the right decision day in, day out. Bizimply’s user-friendly sales forecasting feature allows managers to see how successful they are with sales each day, so they can understand where they need to go in the future. 

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