Virtual kitchens and ghost kitchens and dark kitchens, oh my. As restaurants continue to adapt to the ever-changing needs of diners, there are a bunch of new trends that have popped up over the last couple of years and some of them are here to stay. And virtual kitchens (also known as ghost or dark kitchens) are definitely one of them. To help you learn more about this fascinating concept, we sat down with Rodell Bautista, Skip’s Virtual Kitchen Strategy Manager to get the inside scoop. Let’s dig in.
First off, what exactly is a virtual kitchen?
Basically, in a restaurant with no in-house presence, the virtual kitchen concept serves as either a kitchen within an already established restaurant kitchen or a standalone, kitchen-only facility — both considered delivery and take-out only businesses. This concept has exploded in popularity over the last couple of years (for obvious reasons) and it’s showing no sign of slowing down. Last year alone, order volume in virtual kitchens grew by 322% with Skip — and 5268% since 2018! And we haven’t even scratched the surface of the bounty of benefits that come with having one.
What kind of benefits are we talking about here?
There’s a lot of value in going virtual. Not only can it help you unlock new earning potential, it can also help you grow as a business all around — whether you’re a restaurant with extra space to rent out or a delivery-only restaurant that just needs a kitchen to work in. Here are some of the many benefits:
Low start-up costs – With no front-of-house upkeep, no renovations to be done, and less staff, having a virtual kitchen costs significantly less than operating a full-service restaurant. For restaurants with extra kitchen real estate, renting out the space or creating a new delivery-only menu concept within the restaurant can add a lot to the revenue stream. After all, since the equipment is already in place, extra costs will be negligible.
Way more efficient – Because you’re not competing with in-house orders, you have the ability to handle those increased delivery demands (and increased profits) like nobody’s business. Bonus: customers enjoy the speedier, more efficient service, too.
Quick and easy start-up – There are turnkey options available with kitchens all ready to go, so you can literally turn the key and just get down to business. Also since foot traffic isn’t an issue, there’s no need for consumer-facing operational expenses, like restaurant signage.
Opportunity to test & learn – A virtual kitchen allows you to flex your creativity and experiment with new offerings before adding the dish to your full-time menu (again, without having to simultaneously serve in-house guests).
How do you start your very own virtual kitchen?
There are two ways you can go about it. First option: you can get hooked up with branded partners who already have virtual kitchen space and the marketing to go along with it. Second option: you can create your very own virtual kitchen from scratch with branding help from Skip.
Take Skip Partner, Magic Sushi, for example. Already a successful sushi restaurant in Winnipeg, they boosted business by creating a Honu Poke virtual kitchen that operates within the Magic Sushi kitchen. They created new branding and social media accounts they needed to turn one successful business into two.
Interested in getting the pin rolling with your own virtual kitchen? We can help you figure out a concept that works for you, including the branding and social media support to go along with it. To find out more, contact Rodell Bautista, Skip’s Virtual Kitchen Strategy Manager, directly at [email protected].