A ghost restaurant (also known as a delivery-only restaurant, online-only restaurant or dark kitchen) is a food service business that serves customers exclusively through phone orders or online food ordering. By not having a full-service restaurant premise, ghost restaurants can economize by occupying cheaper real estate.
Although restaurants typically earn more from customers who dine at the restaurant, due to the expense of operating a delivery service or the fees charged by third party delivery companies like Grubhub and Caviar, ghost restaurants have significantly lower overhead. Operating a dining room, with the real estate it requires, staff, amenities, insurance, and other expenses, entails a significant cost. Even restaurants with considerable to-go (British: takeaway) business traditionally dedicate the majority of their space to seating. As visibility, curb appeal, foot traffic, and accessibility are not concerns, the kitchen can be housed in an inexpensive location that would not typically be considered desirable for a restaurant. City councils in the UK have expressed concerns about expansion because residents have complained about noise from delivery traffic.
A typical ghost restaurant location is able to accommodate the preparation of several different types of cuisines. Green Summit Group, for instance, operates several restaurant concepts from a single location. Without a brick-and-mortar location to renovate and front-of-house staff, companies can also try out new brands and cuisines with less effort and expense.. This strategy is used as having multiple brands can target a broader range of customers.
Most of the restaurants use existing delivery services. For example, Green Summit, which owns several ghost restaurants in Chicago and New York City and partners with Grubhub. Keatz operates kitchens in Europe. Some companies incorporate their own delivery system into the business model, as was the case with the now defunct New York-based company Maple. Maple, which was partly backed by restaurateur David Chang, oriented its business around productivity in terms of meals per hour per kitchen — a metric more typical of fast food restaurants.. Finding the correct business model seems to be a challenge -- Maple ceased operations in May 2017 and sold to the UK food-delivery company, Deliveroo. Ando, the delivery-only restaurant launched in 2016, also a David Chang venture, closed doors in January 2018 and was sold to Uber Eats.
Ghost restaurants have been criticized for their unpleasant working conditions and cramped, windowless spaces. Several 2015 news articles found some "ghost restaurants" operated as unregulated, unlicensed standalone entities or as fronts for restaurants that might or might not have health code violations.
Types of ghost restaurant
By creating a ghost restaurant, a virtual restaurant brand is created. There are three ways a dark kitchen can emerge and consequently, a virtual brand will be created.
Independent ghost kitchen owner
One might choose to start up a ghost kitchen because setup costs are lower, and the time taken is shorter, than for a kitchen that also serves a walk-in restaurant. It might take only 3 or 4 weeks.
Existing restaurants can opt to start a ghost restaurant next to their existing restaurant. In this case the restaurant provides food from their kitchen for a different brand name. A Mexican burrito restaurant could prepare pizzas as well, and sell these online under another brand. However, they do not sell these dishes in their physical restaurant. This is a way to attract consumers in the search for pizza and targeting customers without making them skeptical about the pizzas having been made in a Mexican burrito kitchen.
Another advantage of this strategy is that it makes testing out new dishes or menus easier because only a change in the online menu is needed to trial a new dish. Eventually, if the pizza sales were successful, the Mexican burrito restaurant could add them to the menu of their physical restaurant.
Moreover, setting up a virtual brand does not require extra costs for an existing restaurant. They already have the kitchen space and the staff to prepare the food. They do not need weeks to set up the new brand, as everything needed is available for the restaurant.
Another way a ghost kitchen can arise is through delivery platforms such as UberEats and Deliveroo. UberEats set up dark kitchens to prepare meals that are only available on their food ordering platform. These kitchens prepare a variety of dishes. To differentiate the multiple types of dishes and cuisines, they created different brand names. Brooklyn Burger Factory, MIA Wings and French tacos are all brands created for UberEats. They are only available on the UberEats application. This can convince customers to choose their particular application, as the food is solely available on the UberEats platform.
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if you have a 6,000 square foot kitchen you can make very high-quality food and have many different styles of cuisine coming from the same kitchen.
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Butcher Block, Milk Money and Leafage share the same address, chefs and owner.
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