Ghost kitchens are growing in popularity which has been amplified by coronavirus pandemic. Food preparation takes place in a facility designed for cooking meals that are delivered straight to your door. This new take on food service is convenient and easy for food lovers everywhere who would prefer to have their meals wherever they choose to deliver. There is no walk-in or in door dining area so the whole idea is to send food straight to your door. As more businesses are beginning to adopt this model, we are witnessing a shift in the way that people are choosing to consume. This change in food services could possibly trigger other industries to follow a similar pattern.
Customers have the opportunity to control their dining experience as ghost kitchens provide an easily accessible way of delivering food. It is essentially a cooking facility for restaurants or even cafés and bakeries to prepare food without the indoor dining experience. Also referred to as a virtual kitchen, conventional restaurants are transformed into a modernised version of food service. Extravagant aesthetics and prime locations are no longer necessary to provide excellent quality of food. All that is needed is a kitchen loaded with the necessary equipment and adequate space to create. Many ghost kitchens are a co-working space so multiple restaurants are able to work out of the same area or split the kitchen into separate working spaces.
Customer demand for online food delivery services has significantly increased as we now have access to thousands of restaurants with a few simple clicks. People in the UK are eating out less as smartphone apps and online orders become more popular meaning more restaurants will be adjusting to this trend. Ghost Kitchens like “Taster” are available in London and prepares a range of food brands readily available for delivery. “Kitchup” is the first online marketplace providing fully equipped kitchens in the UK for a monthly subscription. Choosing a kitchen in one area however, does not limit the ability to send food to multiple locations. Online access reaches a multitude of customers all at once without the added costs of opening a new dining establishment in another place. Shared spaces are the future of the UK’s food delivery services as food consultant companies like “Egg Soldiers” can help businesses diversify to fit the growing online demand.
Without the need to directly interact with customers business are able to slash their operating costs, decrease their labour costs (no more waiter/waitresses!) and cheaper rent without a physical restaurant. As there is no need for customers to eat in, restaurants do not have the added costs of cleaners, dish-washers and servers. Instead a fully equipped kitchen space requires very little else other than chefs and food preparers to make the food. Additional costs come from packaging and delivery services however; this business model has the potential for high revenue. New restaurants may want to try online services to begin with as the initial investment is cheaper in comparison to building a restaurant establishment from scratch. These kitchens would be a great opportunity for new businesses to reach a high number of customers and focus on creating high standard menu items.
Apps like Deliveroo and UberEats have become massively popular for the ease and simplicity of placing an order without entering the premises of a restaurant. Reduced overheads are just one advantage for restaurants that exclusively sell meals online. The popularity of online orders has grown as millennials prefer services that can accommodate to their needs and comfort. According to UBS, the food delivery market is expected to hit $365 million (£283 million) globally in 2030. Clearly, the popularity of online ordering is motivated by the simple ordering process and eating in the comfort of your own home. The flexibility of ordering food is an attractive feature as the customer can amend their request for location and time. It is very simple to adapt your order as well order food from a location away from their current area. It gives the customer a wide range of choices that are not as readily available to them without internet ordering.
Experiential retail offers experience beyond the scope of traditional formats that provide services and entertainment. Trends in consumer spending are diverting towards ease of access and services that can meet their demands quickly. In this new age, online businesses are booming as the internet and social media take over. People want to enjoy and experience food on their terms where they are comfortable, whether it is a meal in restaurant or dining in their home. This idea has rapidly grown with the success of e-commerce brands in other industries such as makeup and retail. Businesses have the opportunity to reach customers without the additional costs associated with physical locations. Smaller brands also have ability to provide a service without the added cost of running a shop. Convenience has become a huge factor for customers as businesses have become quicker when responding to customer demand.
Ghost kitchens are an innovative opportunity for new brands and well-established businesses to provide food services to customers while retaining a huge sum of the revenue. There is no doubt there is more to come as the tech world and culinary industry align.