What if we look at restaurants and foodservice production the way we look at office space? In the age of WeWork, Impact Hub, and other co-working spaces, the translation to restaurants would be commercial kitchens without a front-of-the-house; simply, a place where food is made but not eaten.
The reality is these places exist. They're called ghost kitchens. And even before the outbreak of COVID-19, they were growing in popularity as one of the hottest trends in foodservice. As detailed in Forbes, these "virtual kitchens" have cultivated a new culture of online ordering and delivery.
Obviously, in our current situation, online ordering and delivery has grown even more popular. Whether it's because restaurants cannot open to in-house dining, are choosing not to, or have just realized the potential of a new revenue stream, the coronavirus has turned many of our brick and mortar restaurants into ghost kitchens, whether it was planned or not.
So why were ghost kitchens so popular even before COVID-19? The answers are simple. They're still relevant. And they're the same reasons you can expect to see more ghost kitchens in the future.
When you remove the front-of-the-house from the equation, the sum total equals reduced overhead and easier access to profits. Additionally, this reduces the barrier to entry, as initial startup costs are often much lower. Finally, staffing becomes less of an issue, as the full focus can be placed on food production, menu development, tastes, and flavor, because hospitality is not a factor.
Let's face it. Today's emerging demographics are much more likely to order on an iPhone, schedule a pickup or delivery time, complete full payment including tip, and then receive food or pick it up without any personal interaction. Because these characteristics and preferences will only accelerate, there's no reason to think ghost kitchens will decrease in popularity in the future.
Lastly and probably most obvious at this point in time, safety is a huge benefit when it comes to ghost kitchen operations. For so many Americans, the goal of everyday life is to minimize the potential exposure to the coronavirus, and ghost kitchens do this in two ways. First, they eliminate the possibility of in-house, on-site dining, a situation in which many are uncomfortable and probably will be for the foreseeable future. Second, ghost kitchens are low-contact to no-contact in terms of delivery or pickup, especially with the right types of food holding and pickup equipment.
One Source is your source for the latest trends and the ways to implement them in your operation. Schedule a free foodservice equipment assessment with us to learn more, whether you're looking to enter the ghost kitchen world or something entirely different. We're here to help.