Ghost Kitchens and how they are Impacting the Foodservice Industry

01 Nov 22

We all remember lockdown 2020; when the prospect of dining in a restaurant was unfathomable, and the only way for us to get our fix of our favourite foods (without cooking them ourselves) was to have them delivered to our door. What we didn’t realise at the time, is that in doing so, we were shaping the future of foodservice.

The increased demand in delivery services, alongside the restrictions in place for restaurants, forced many foodservice establishment owners to re-think their offering, and created opportunities for many new business owners to enter the market, using ghost kitchens.

What are ghost kitchens?

We know what you’re thinking, but no, ghost kitchens are not kitchens filled with supernatural creatures cooking up a storm… they’re actually much less frightening.

Ghost kitchens, also known as dark kitchens, are commercial kitchens which are purpose built for food delivery services. Whereas in a traditional restaurant, you would have front of house staff, chefs, servers and bartenders, in a ghost kitchen there are a very limited number of staff, preparing and fulfilling online orders that are only available for delivery. There is no store-front, and no capacity for in-house diners.

There are a few different benefits to having a ghost kitchen, the two main benefits being lower costs and increased exposure.

Ghost kitchen sites are usually much smaller than typical establishments, as there is no need for anything other than a kitchen in order to fulfil orders, therefore the cost to run them is significantly lower than those of a dine-in café or restaurant. Moreover, it can be quite common for multiple restaurants or brands to share the same site/space, further decreasing costs.

With ghost kitchens solely focusing on delivery, they will usually have a presence online and be available via the most popular delivery services, such as Deliveroo, UberEats, JustEat and so on. This allows restaurants to gain maximum exposure, and reach a much wider audience than if they were just a dine-in establishment.

How are ghost kitchens impacting the foodservice industry?

 The incredibly quick rise of ghost kitchens is changing the foodservice industry in different ways.

Firstly, it is giving people much more choice in the food that they can order, and is making it much easier for them to have this food delivered to them. It is no longer necessary for people to leave the house, travel and then wait in a line at a takeaway or a restaurant; they can simply pull out their phone, order via a delivery app and have their food delivered straight to their door.

Secondly, ghost kitchens are changing the way many restaurants conduct business. If you were to go back 20 years, takeaways were few and far between and delivery was almost non-existent. Dining then was seen as an experience, to be enjoyed in the company of others in a different environment than your home; whereas now, going out to eat in a restaurant can almost seem like unnecessary effort. Due to this change in consumer attitude, many restaurants which were once strictly dine-in are now offering take-away and delivery services, in order to retain their customer base.

What does this mean for the future of the foodservice industry?

 The accelerated rise in ghost kitchens over the past 2 and a half years is a sure sign that the foodservice industry is changing, as people enjoy the ease and convenience of food delivery. Although we can’t predict the future, we feel confident that ghost kitchens won’t be going anywhere soon, and will continue to grow in demand and popularity.

Interested in the best equipment for a ghost kitchen? Take a look at our wide range of products here.