Ghost Kitchens Are Not a Trend, They’re Here to Stay

Just a few short months ago, life was so different. Foodservice was different. There are some trends we were seeing pre-COVID that are still relevant today, and in some cases, are even accelerated. One of those trends is the ghost kitchen.

Back in January, Forbes produced a piece on ghost kitchens that has one of the simplest explanations for what they are, as even in our industry, there’s often some confusion.

In essence, ghost kitchens are like co-working spaces. Instead of crunching numbers or reading creative briefs, though, entrepreneurs get together to create food. The front-of-the-house is simply removed, and the primary focus in these “virtual kitchens” is production for delivery, whether the delivery is done with in-house resources, external delivery companies, or a combination of both.

Traditionally, this allowed restauranteurs to open without all the overhead costs that come with hosting guests. Post-pandemic, it allows them to simply operate in a business-as-usual format. So, yes, ghost kitchens are a Covid trend that’s here to stay.

The rise of experiential retail

People want customization, and they want it now. For ghost kitchen operators, this is exactly what they provide. In essence, they’re ushering in the concepts of experiential retail, but they’re doing it with food.

For many brick and mortar restaurants, the concept of the ghost kitchen was forced upon them. The only ways to get product to customers and profits into the cash register was to deliver or allow for pickup, and this was foreign territory to many. The contactless model of ordering on a mobile phone app, having food dropped at your doorstep, or picking it up at an operation equipped with contactless foodservice pickup equipment is becoming the norm.

According to QSR, there’s no denying that ghost kitchens will remain a popular option for both operators and customers alike as we navigate through the coronavirus pandemic, and even following that in a post-COVID world. As an example, they cited Creating Culinary Communities’ plan to open 138 additional ghost kitchens by the end of the year.

What’s the one critical element to ghost kitchens and sustaining the growth in this segment?

That’s an easy one. Technology.

Without the right types of technologies, the ordering and payment system would not be efficient. Delivery would not be contactless, something we all expect to continue for the foreseeable future. And the cooking processes would not be as efficient and as profitable. Just look at the importance of connectivity and what it means to be a smart kitchen to understand the importance of technology in today’s ghost kitchen.

Would you like to see what we mean first hand? Take a journey into our collection of smart kitchen examples to see the different facets of a successful ghost kitchen operation.

Choose Your Kitchen

Topics: Featured Innovation, Foodservice Industry Trends, Ghost Kitchen