There has never been a more exciting time to start a career in the restaurant industry. The rise of the ghost, cloud or virtual kitchen concept has truly transformed the food industry. If the concept seems right for your business – learn more about the cloud kitchen concept here – you are probably wondering how you actually take that next step in starting an online kitchen.
Although it is an easy concept, you definitely want to make sure that you have done your due diligence so that your online kitchen can be a success. Here are some things to think about before launching into the online kitchen scene:
1. Understand The Legal Regulations
Depending on your State you will have different laws and regulations guiding you. You will need to have an annual kitchen inspection, a zoning or clearance permit, health inspections stating you meet sanitary regulations, a valid state business license. So read up on your local and state requirements and laws, go through some food handling training, and get the right licenses to run your online kitchen.
2. Define The Gap You Are Filling
Research trends in your area and find your niche. You want to make sure that you are filling a gap and not entering an already saturated arena. If you are selling burgers where there are 10 other burger restaurants, you may need to rethink things. But if you are the only ramen restaurant in a burger saturated market, you definitely stand a better chance. However, you also need to analyze the market. You may be the only ramen restaurant in the area but if nobody wants ramen in that location, things may get difficult.
3. Create a Supplier Network
Finding the right suppliers for your ingredients is also important. You want to make sure you can get the best ingredients, at a good price point, when you need them Having a reliable supplier network is invaluable.
4. Invest In Building A Solid Virtual Kitchen Brand
Take some time to build your brand. Beginning with your name, you want to be memorable, stand out, and be aligned with specific reputation and characteristics. Really think about how you are going to package your product/s too. And since your business is an online kitchen, you will need to pay extra attention to your digital marketing, product photography, brand colors, website, fonts, and more.
5. Set Your Price Point and Budget
Another important move is to set your price points. You do not want to price your business out of existence. Work out what your variable and fixed costs per product are. Then decide on your profit margin. Once you have these figures you can work out what to price your products at. Also, you will need to assess the market – are you pricing your products too low? Too high?
6. Build Your Online Kitchen
By this we don’t mean brick-and-mortar, we are talking about the digital version. You will need to decide how best to establish your online kitchen in the digital realm. A website will be a good starting point. Look for partners who can help you achieve a virtual presence with an innovative tech stack.
7. Become a Marketing Maven
Once your digital operation is up and running you will need to leverage all the digital marketing platforms to help promote your business. Email marketing, social networks, and SEO techniques will be your best allies in this effort.