Dark Kitchens

What are dark kitchens?

They are kitchens that sell food only, through an online ordering system app, with delivery through delivery services such as UberEats and Deliveroo. PFC Consulting investigates the basics of dark kitchens.

Where did the concept come from?

The food concept originated in ancient times, but dark kitchens were revitalized and it is beginning to thrive in today’s market. This concept goes by many different names today: ghost kitchens, cloud kitchens, commissary kitchens, shared kitchens, and virtual kitchens.

How is it from ancient times and how does it work today?

In ancient times the similarity was that food was sold from stalls and people simply walked up and bought or traded for the food they wanted. Today, people are ordering their food from an app on a cell phone and it is then delivered via a delivery service.

The ghost kitchens are gaining momentum today while the coronavirus has forced most of the traditional brick-and-mortar type of restaurants to close their doors to walk-in business. Those restaurants that have not been able to transition to delivery only may very well see their businesses close for good if pandemic protocols are not lifted soon.

What is the big draw to this type of food business?

Lower expenses are one of the biggest draws for this type of business. Rent for the ghost kitchen is much more favorable than traditional restaurants. Being in optimum locations for walk-in traffic or having good and ample parking is not important; the ghost kitchen can operate well off the beaten path and pay considerably less for rent.

The other expenses that the ghost kitchen does not have to pay like the traditional restaurant include:

–    hostesses and waiters and all their associated payroll taxes

–    insurance and utilities for a full-size building

–    equipment and furniture to furnish a full-size eatery

–    keeping the inventory that a traditional restaurant

They also don’t have to spend the time cleaning the full-size restaurant. Once their kitchen is cleaned at the end of the night, their shift is complete.

What’s the excitement about today?

In the U. S. Coronavirus Economic Impact Report that Yelp published, they noted that since the onset of the pandemic, food delivery services have doubled. Chicken wing restaurants and pizzerias increased by 93% and 83% respectively in the delivery business since the pandemic.

Advances in technology and changes in consumer habits are making the ghost kitchens even more popular. Since social distancing has transpired, more and more people are using apps to call-in food delivery. Even with a food deliverer you are able to keep a safe distance apart… you just leave the money on the car and he/she does the same with the food. No money has to change hands that way, or if you elect to give your credit card information over the phone.

What will the ghost kitchens do to traditional restaurants?

Unless traditional restaurants can optimize their operations rapidly, they will likely lose more business after the current pandemic ends. Delivery orders were as much or more than 30% of some restaurant sales.

Ghost kitchen type sales are expected to increase substantially in the next few years.