Can there be a restaurant with no storefront, no tables and chairs, and no diners either? Apparently, yes. Call it ghost kitchen, virtual kitchen, dark kitchen or by the more popular term cloud kitchen. it’s the phenomenon that has caught the attention of the food industry and changed its dynamics. The format relies on a well-equipped kitchen and delivery only, with no provision for the dine-in facility. With many start-ups, established chefs, independent entrepreneurs, online aggregators and investors fighting for a piece of the pie, cloud kitchen is a phenomenon that many are referring to as the “future of the food industry”.
If you want to know more about what cloud kitchens are, how they work, and if they will be successful or not, read this piece of article to get good insights about cloud kitchen.
In the simplest term, a cloud kitchen is a virtual restaurant that serves restaurant-quality food within the comfort of your home. “It’s a restaurant that delivers food but doesn’t serve food on location. The service is done by delivery people. Business generation typically happens through tech, usually through an app. The whole business of acquiring the customer is driven by tech,” said celebrated Chef Sanjeev Kapoor who has a chain of restaurants across India and abroad, and is now in talks with investors to start cloud kitchens. Everything is done online exclusively via online meal ordering platforms like Uber Eats or Deliveroo.
A cloud kitchen is only accessible via these platforms and sends the dishes directly to end customers via delivery.
Why is this trend emerging now? With a more urban and connected global population than ever, the explosion of home delivery platforms or the workplace is tangible evidence of changing consumer behavior.
For an idea to become a trend there must be real advantages, regardless of the industry. In the case of the cloud kitchen or ghost kitchen, the main advantage is the cost. Without a dining room, the operating cost is lower, with no waiters and other lounge expenses.
What's more, cloud kitchens don't have to worry as much about their physical location as they do about a traditional restaurant. They can be located in low rent areas and smaller spaces, saving even more. Another point is that the “cloud kitchen” can be shared by several restaurants from different networks, which makes the application delivery operation much more efficient and economical. The “cloud kitchen” concept also allows operators to experiment with combining various types of cooking in a single cooking operation. So while cost savings are a big advantage, perhaps the real driver is the anticipated growth of the online delivery market. While many sources report different numbers, one thing they all agree on is that the food delivery market is growing rapidly.
Lower real estate and upfront costs – The drastic reduction of operating costs on many of the high rent locations for a restaurant owner. Not having a room is a clear gain in terms of rent, but also the fact that you no longer need to target first-class locations to attract customers, which reduces prices per square meter. Operating expenses are therefore limited to cooking.
Flexibility – There is no additional cost of printing a menu card. Since, the menu can change at will after a simple update on the delivery platform, but also in the hours of activity. Indeed, the restaurant can open or close in one click depending on whether the kitchen is ready to operate or not. This also serves only a limited number of dishes planned in advance. Out of stock? The dish no longer appears on the menu, eliminating the frustration of customers ordering an unavailable dish.
Because cloud kitchens have no dining room area, they have a much larger volume and production efficiency than a typical restaurant. In this way, the concept of “cloud kitchen” is here to stay. In high-labor markets, cloud restaurants can reduce the price of meals, and in the end, convenience will always win.