The Middleby Guide to Ghost Kitchen Layouts

Ghost kitchens are not a trend. They’ve transformed the restaurant industry over the last several years, and they’re here to stay. The reasons are simple. Ghost kitchen layouts allow operators to do more with less space and satisfy the demand for off-premise dining, a sector that grew significantly during the Covid pandemic. Ghost kitchens provide the opportunity for more focused menus that are easier to execute.

Ghost kitchens aren’t all the same, though. In fact, there are six main types of configurations that operators should consider when opening up the possibility of ghost kitchen business models. The options are varied, so it’s important to strategize accordingly and pick the right type of layout for your business.

The Six Types of Ghost Kitchen Layouts

1. Shared Space

In some commercial kitchens, extra space can mean extra profit. Leasing out a portion of the production area to operators looking to build a ghost kitchen business model is a popular concept. Commonly seen in hotels, this layout can work well in any space that already has a fully equipped commercial kitchen and the parking to accommodate third-party delivery drivers.

2. Expanded Concept

Another option for restaurants with additional space is to develop a larger delivery and takeout business. Ghost kitchen profit margins can be higher because of extra production and reallocation of staff. For example, many large quick-serve restaurant chains have reduced front-of-house labor and added food runners to keep up with off-premise demand.

3. Spin-Off Concept

Not all operators want to provide the same menu as part of the overall ghost kitchen design. With spin-off ghost kitchen concepts, the only limitation is the imagination. Ghost kitchens provide owners and operators with the ability to create a brand new concept with a completely different menu.

4. Virtual Food Halls/Commissaries

Menu variety is one way to approach a ghost kitchen design, and virtual food halls are an easy way to offer a wide variety of options. Some of the largest virtual food halls have up to 30 different menus running out of one kitchen, all with different production requirements and packaging. By using a conveyor belt system, these operations are able to reduce meal inaccuracy rates and improve assembly and packaging.

5. Emerging Third-Party Delivery Competition

What do third-party delivery companies have that the others don’t? DATA. And lots of it. The emergence of ghost kitchens run by third-party delivery services are popping up, and to no surprise. They can eliminate the guesswork of determining which concepts will perform well in certain geographical areas, giving them a leg-up on the competition.

6. Pods and Vessels

Some ghost kitchens don’t operate in buildings at all. They utilize mobile systems like pods that resemble food trucks or even shipping containers. These units can be placed in parking garages, parking lots, or other similar locations to bring operators into brand new geographical marketplaces.

Ready to tour some ghost kitchen concepts for yourself? Click below for our Virtual Ghost Kitchen Experience. There’s no place for you to eat, but you might like what’s cooking!



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Topics: Foodservice Industry Trends, Ghost Kitchen