There comes a time when you have to jump into something innovative or take the risk of being left behind. In the restaurant industry, that risk may be the ghost kitchen movement.
For those thinking ghost kitchens aren’t here to stay, they aren’t prepared for what’s coming. But if you’re ready to turn on the stove, we are going to show you exactly how to take advantage of the ghost kitchen movement.
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Pros of Ghost Kitchens
Traditional restaurants rely on brick-and-mortar spaces and a significant investment in start-up costs. Not to mention the time, energy, and money for ascetics. Launching a restaurant costs between 100-275K (even more if you buy the building).
You’ve got to invest in equipment, technology, bookkeeping, food, decorating, and more. At any stage in the process, something could make it fall apart. But why stay stuck in the old model, when there’s a lot of pros of ghost kitchens, including:
- Fewer start-up costs
- Encourages experimentation
- Incredible margins
- Future of food delivery
How to Break Into the Ghost Kitchen Market
So, now that you know the benefits of the ghost kitchen movement, how do you get started? We’ve broken it down into some essential steps.
1| Secure the Kitchen
Finding the right location for your ghost kitchen is super important for success. While you don’t have to worry about foot traffic, you need to worry about how accessible it is for delivery drivers and customers.
Can the driver park in front? Is it close to where your customers are? How much does it cost to rent? Can you bring your own equipment?
Beginning with where you’ll make the food can make or break your ghost kitchen. But the ShiftPixy Labs Ghost Kitchen Incubator Program is here to help. Entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of the ghost kitchen movement can apply to join the program.
Once accepted, you’ll go through a series of challenges intent on getting your ghost kitchen up and running in no time. The ShiftPixy Labs experts have years of experience helping restaurateurs make ideas happen.
2| Choose a Concept
You’ve got the drive and the talent but need to refine your ghost kitchen idea down into a winning one. Sometimes, it can be hard to decide what the best spin is for your ghost kitchen, but the key is to do lots of research and understand your target market in the city you’re launching.
If you don’t understand your customer, you can’t choose a ghost kitchen concept that works. It’s also better to keep it as simple as possible and try to take a winning food concept and put your spin on it.
3| Develop Your Menu
You’ve got your concept and know your customer, so now what about the menu? The delivery-only menu thrives on simplicity and portability.
You only need a few tasty items that travel well and don’t take long to cook. Most people agree that you shouldn’t offer more than ten items and make sure they can last a 20-minute car ride.
But ghost kitchens are about experimenting with new ideas, so if you know how you can get fries to last longer than five minutes, give it a try and see what happens.
4| Choose Your Suppliers
Food costs can seriously cut into your bottom line. So, having only a few items helps with this and also helps narrow down your suppliers. Taking a look at local suppliers in your area and the ingredient cost goes hand in hand when developing the menu.
5| Hire a Cook
One of the best parts about starting a ghost kitchen is that the whole operation takes fewer people. But you may need to hire a line cook or chef to whip up the dishes. Ask anyone in the restaurant industry, and staffing is always an issue.
Sometimes you can’t find qualified folks, and other times you have a hard time predicting labor needs. There are days you’re slammed for no reason and other days when there’s no heat in the kitchen.
ShiftPixy can help with all your staffing needs. Plus, we can help you predict when you’ll get a rush and how to staff on-demand. The innovative ShiftPixy platform does all the work, so you can focus on what you do best.
6| Go Native Delivery
Online food businesses rely on food delivery. Most people assume that a third-party delivery app is the only way to secure some food traffic, but that’s not true at all. Food delivery from the big apps takes your profits, data, and control.
The already tight margin disappears if you shovel out a 20-30% commission fee. Honestly, you’re really working for free. ShiftPixy understands this and has revolutionized delivery to make a win-win for the provider and restaurant.
The concept is native delivery, and instead of having an outside delivery app provide the drivers, and you pay the fees, you bring delivery back in-house with ShiftPixy. We take care of the tech, and you take care of the food.
7| Look at Your Packaging
Instead of hot plates, you need to have some “hot” packaging. We’re not just talking about how it looks, but how well it travels.
Your food needs to arrive as if it just left the kitchen, and the quality of your packaging matters. Investing in functional, attractive, and eco-friendly packaging can make a world of difference.
Pro Tips for Taking Advantage of the Ghost Kitchen Movement
This article wouldn’t be complete without some pro tips, and here are some you’ll love.
Securing the Funding
Starting a restaurant takes some serious funds. Ghost kitchens require less of an initial investment, but you’ll still need money for equipment, space, and staff. Sometimes securing a loan for a restaurant can be difficult, so finding the necessary funding before you begin helps alleviate stress.
Incubators may be the answer if you’re having trouble raising all the money. The ShiftPixy Labs Ghost Kitchen Incubator Program provides the space, expertise, and guidance needed to become financially independent.
Hiring the Right Staff
While any person may fill the job when you’re desperate, finding the right staff is a pro tip. There’s no room for error as a small business, and employees need to wear many hats. This is where ShiftPixy can help. We can provide ready-to-hire restaurant workers on-demand.
Take Inspiration From Others
People are creatures of habit, and offering something familiar at a slightly lower price is sage advice. Look around at what’s successful and ask yourself, how can I do it better?
Consider a Partner
Involving someone you value and trust in your ghost kitchen idea is wise. Opening a ghost kitchen can be a daunting task for one person, and enlisting the help of someone who is the yin to your yang may be the missing ingredient.
ShiftPixy could be that partner. We love sharing in the joy and excitement of the ghost kitchen movement. Contact us today to find out what’s cooking!