Maximizing New Revenue Streams with a Ghost Kitchen by Martin Costanzo

Maximizing New Revenue Streams with a Ghost Kitchen

The food service industry has undergone dramatic changes. Due to social distancing requirements in public places, the reduction in seating capacity for dine-in restaurants has caused many established businesses to suffer an unsustainable loss of revenue, and in some cases, close down indefinitely. The restrictions and limitations on indoor restaurant dining has shifted the focus to a way of doing business that emphasizes delivery.

Food delivery is nothing new. Certainly, for pizzerias, Chinese restaurants and delicatessens, delivery has been a mainstay of everyday business for decades. More recently, with the advent of online ordering and delivery services, such as Grubhub® and Uber Eats®, door to door delivery saw a remarkable surge. Then came the pandemic and restrictions on indoor dining, which gave rise to a relatively new business model—the ghost kitchen.

What Is a Ghost Kitchen?

The first thought that might come to mind upon hearing the term “ghost kitchen” is that of a galley on a smoke laden pirate ship tossing about on stormy seas with apparitions of ghostly chefs wielding knives and spatulas over flaming stoves. Aside from this Hollywood depiction, our ghost kitchen concept is a restaurant that has no sit-down dining room and is designed to fulfill orders for delivery placed online or by phone. They are sometimes referred to as virtual kitchens or cloud kitchens, but the term ghost kitchen is more fun.

There are three types of ghost kitchens that have grown out of the demand for more food delivery options. The Pop-up Ghost Kitchen is one that is built along side a traditional kitchen in an existing restaurant where some indoor dining is allowed. The pop-up kitchen is dedicated exclusively to delivery orders, leaving the main kitchen free to focus on the inside, albeit reduced capacity, dining area.

The Commissary Ghost Kitchen concept is dedicated to delivery only with no affiliation to a walk-in food establishment. They can be located in remote locations where real estate is more economical because there is no customer facing store front to maintain. Often kitchen space can be rented in specially dedicated kitchen center facilities built by entrepreneurial developers, such as Kitchens United or Cloud Kitchens, that offer multiple kitchens for rent by a variety of different ghost restauranteurs. They come fully or partially equipped to do business and are fully licensed to comply with state building codes and food service regulations.

The third concept is the Ghost Kitchen Pod. These are little more than shipping containers outfitted with ovens, stoves, sinks, appliances and ventilation. Kitchen pods tend to be small and claustrophobic, poorly lit with no windows—not even as comfortable to work in as a food truck. However, if portability is a concern, this arrangement might be a workable option.

Food service layouts made to order. Construction and innovation to improve your current or new kitchen available.

Adapting, Enhancing and Enduring in Challenging Times

In seasons of changing circumstances, successful business people learn how to evolve with the times. You have to adapt to the shifting demands of the marketplace. Adapting to a predominantly online delivery business while maintaining your existing dine-in operation can be accomplished with specially engineered solutions developed for food service professionals who refuse to give up easily. Waring Commercial is ready to serve as your solutions specialist with portable, plug & play appliances that enable you to adapt and enhance your menu to establish a thriving delivery service from your dedicated ghost kitchen or alongside your existing restaurant kitchen.

Blend, Prep, Cook and Brew Solutions to Support New Revenue Streams

Equipping a kitchen with Waring can help create new revenue streams and increase profitability quickly with high-efficiency products and proven ROI. For example, expand your business day by adding a breakfast delivery menu. Waring has a wide selection of commercial waffle makers suitable for any sized kitchen. From Belgian to Classic style in single and double, side-by side or vertically stacked configurations. Consider specialty waffle makers, such as the Waring Commercial Bubble Waffle Maker, the Mini Belgian Waffle Maker, the Gelato Panini Press, and the single or double Waffle Cone Makers. A juicer, such as the Waring Pulp Eject Juice Extractor, can open the door to a variety of specialty breakfast and brunch items, such as smoothies and healthy juices.

Adapt with New Processes That Reduce Costs and Waste

Challenging times require new approaches to everyday procedures that are not quite as sustainable as they once were. Cost cutting measures can have a significant impact on your bottom line if done with a return on your investment in mind.

Food Storage for Cutting Costs

Extending shelf life for inventory can be enhanced with a vacuum sealing food storage system. It enables you to keep adequate supplies of perishables on hand for ready use for weeks, and even months. The Waring Chamber Vacuum Sealing System lets you package liquids and liquid-rich foods, such as meats, soups, marinades and stews for freezing in a double sealed, airtight  pouch. The vacuum sealed pouches are safe for boiling, freezing and reheating in the microwave. Preserve left over ingredients for later use rather than let them expire for disposal.

How Sous-Vide Can Help Lower Expenses

Sous vide is an innovative cooking method being used today by some of the most reputable chefs in many fine restaurants around the world. Practitioners of the craft say that it saves time, saves labor, eliminates waste and cooks large batches to perfection with minimal supervision, making it an ideal choice for busy delivery services. Sous vide achieves a precise level of doneness while maintaining the natural flavors and textures of many different types of food. Precise low temperature control and gentle cooking over a longer time period can tenderize foods, maintain moisture and deliver delicious, fork-tender entrées and side dishes.

The key point to keep in mind is sous vide’s long, slow cooking time tenderizes meats very efficiently. You can turn less expensive cuts of meat into tender, delicious dishes that might otherwise call for prime cuts—a money saving opportunity to consider.

Reducing Waste with Dehydration

By drying and preserving excess foods for use in recipes or as healthy snacks to sell, you can use up products that might otherwise go to waste. Dried food has a longer shelf life than fresh foods, so you can buy in bulk and not worry about throwing away the excess. In addition, some dried foods or ingredients can be expensive to purchase pre-made. If your budget is tight, choosing to buy fresh foods and dry them yourself could help you save money in the long run.

New Ventures in Retail Sales

Do you have a special recipe for a sauce, salad dressing, cookies, or marinade? Producing and packaging for retail sales might sound like a daunting endeavor but tough times require extraordinary strategies. Licensing, labeling, bottling, marketing and shipping are all established practices that you can master with some research and hard work.

The rewards can be astonishing, but you’ve got to do some leg work. And, you’ll need some start-up capital. Not as much as you might imagine. You can start small and offer some product with a simple flyer slipped into a delivery bag and featured on a page on your website with online ordering. A new venture like this can become an exciting adventure if you count the cost and plan accordingly.

Waring Commercial Investments Lead to Genuine ROI

In the foodservice business, it is especially important for product manufacturers to put their money where their mouth is and provide robust ROI that feeds growth. Kitchen equipment and appliances that streamline efficiency and increase productivity are a must in an increasingly competitive landscape with tight margins.  Our new ROI Calculator, which makes it easy to see just how much of a return on investment you can expect when you purchase any product in our lineup. In addition, the ROI Calculator is a highly targeted way to find optimal solutions for your business challenges and objectives.

Article: Waring Commercial.

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