What is a Ghost Kitchen and what is a Ghost Restaurant
A Ghost kitchen is a kitchen that cooks and delivers food through online delivery without having its own actual seating. Ghost kitchens can contain multiple Ghost restaurants. Ghost Kitchens and Ghost Restaurants have become very popular concepts over the past few months. Now that most restaurants are not allowed to seat to full capacity, the idea of what a restaurant should do has changed.
You can now start a restaurant concept at a shared kitchen space sign a contract with Grubhub, Uber Eats, and Door Dash and all of sudden you are able to compete with restaurants who have large stores, large amounts of cooking equipment, high rent, lots of employees, and high food costs. You can start your restaurant with the idea that you are going to sell through food delivery services like Grubhub and Door Dash and build in the appropriate margin to cover the delivery fees.
I mean, why stop at one. You could do a taco place, a pizza place, and a chicken place all out of the same kitchen. You can give them different names, different menus, and different looks but do it all out of a single kitchen. You could add a Greek place and Chinese over time continuing to add new restaurant concepts to your kitchen.
Eventually you will know which concepts generate the most profit and you can focus on those brands by expanding to additional cities using the same model.
Ghost Kitchens and Ghost Restaurants are here to stay. I am sure the business model will change. It would make sense for several ghost kitchens and ghost restaurants to establish their own delivery service to compete against Grubhub and Door Dash. I would also make sense over time for Grubhub and Door Dash to start their own Ghost Kitchens and compete against the brands that got them started. There is a reason you don't get the customer data with Grubhub. They want to maintain the relationship so that one day they can serve their own private label restaurant food.
I think the most exciting thing to develop from the Pandemic is the big push into curbside delivery. I live in Chicago. I can get food delivered pretty much any hour of the day but its expensive. There are deliver fees, service fees, and tips to pay. With Curbside pickup, you place your order online and then pull up to the restaurant and someone brings the food to your car.
You will never believe who has this system worked out well. Its McDonalds. Their app lets you order food and then it doesn't charge you until you are in the parking lot of a McDonalds. From there you park in a designated space while they make your order. After a few minutes a masked McDonalds employee brings the food to your window. It takes a few more minutes than I would like but the process is great.