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Food and Gastronomy | Ghost Kitchens

Ghost Kitchens:
Definition, the profitability of the business and successful examples

Given the new reality of delivery first and consumption later, the idea of Ghost Kitchen makes perfect sense and could potentially become permanent. In this guide, we'll go over everything you need to know about Ghost Kitchen.

Ghost Kitchens

Ghost Kitchen App

Even if you have never heard of a "Ghost Kitchen", it is possible that you have ordered from one at least once in your life.

Aaron Dettner - Co-Founder appleute

That's because such delivery restaurants often keep themselves hidden (hence "ghost kitchens"). For those who are not yet familiar with this concept: Ghost Kitchens Are restaurants that only deliver. So Ghost Kitchen startups don't have tables to sit at on site, rather bring the food directly to the consumer or have it picked up.

Ghost Kitchens are a modified form of the traditional restaurant business, meaning no storefront or service. It helps restaurateurs diversify their online options because the kitchen is set up for delivery or takeout.

The result of this new phenomenon is that delivery app customers can place an order with what they believe is a unique and local restaurant, when in fact it is a chain restaurant.

In this guide you will find detailed information about it, how to start a Ghost Kitchen and be successful in the virtual restaurant industry, as well as examples from the industry that have been there and done it.

What is a Ghost Kitchen?

Definition Ghost Kitchen

Ghost Kitchen - commonly referred to in English as Dark Kitchens, Cloud Kitchens, Virtual Kitchens, or Headless Restaurants - are professional food preparation facilities specifically designed for meal delivery. 

Teamwork

At Ghost Kitchens are usually shared spaces that contain everything else a typical restaurant kitchen has, but they do not have a dining area for guests. The restaurants that have a Ghost Kitchen use, still have a physical location where you can dine or take something away, but the Ghost Kitchen is used only for the production of delivery dishes.

Are Ghost Kitchens profitable?

Is it worth it to open a Ghost Kitchen?

Are Ghost Kitchen profitable? Short answer - yes!

Are Ghost Kitchen profitable? Long answer: Ghost Kitchen Startups are indeed extremely profitable. This is because they have extremely low overheads and because takeaway/delivery is booming.

They are more profitable than traditional restaurants because no service staff or front-of-house management is required, the area to be cleaned is relatively small, and the work can be done with fewer cooks because only one delivery is needed.

Infrastructure costs are mainly limited to the kitchen area, as there is no need to build fancy seating areas, buy a large plot of land, or create ambiance. 

Earn money with an app

And it costs a hell of a lot of money to run a restaurant and keep it open every day. That includes the cost of electricity, rent, and many other overhead costs that go into keeping a restaurant running smoothly. 

Since the business model of a Ghost Kitchen does not require as much maintenance and operating costs, the overhead costs are much lower than a normal restaurant.

How do you earn money in Ghost Kitchen?

How to make money with a Dark Kitchen

To understand, how Ghost Kitchen earn money, let's start with the total revenue they generate in a month and derive regular expenses from that. Among the regular expenses of a Ghost Kitchen include third party delivery commission (25 %), food and paper costs (30 %) and landlord commission (3 %). After deducting these costs from the total monthly sales of the Virtual Kitchen a gross margin of approximately 42 % remains. These are the minimum expenses that a Ghost Kitchen Startup of any size. 


With an established Ghost Kitchen startup is the Total monthly turnover of the Ghost Kitchen higher, so additional costs are incurred here as well. These expenses include labor (27 %), rent (26 %) and other operating costs (8 %). Even after deducting these costs, the gross margin remains at about 18 %.

How to start a Ghost Kitchen?

Checklist for the creation of a Ghost Kitchen

1. rent a commercial kitchen or room

Make sure that your Headless Kitchen located in an area that can be easily found by delivery services. You can also share a common kitchen with another virtual restaurant to lower the rent.

2. create a concept

Think about the types of foods your target customers would like to eat and what you would like to prepare. One of the advantages of Ghost Kitchen is that if one of your concepts doesn't work, you can switch to another with little effort. 

3. create an online presence

The customers will use your Ghost Kitchen easier to find when you establish an online presence. This is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to market your business.

Backend development

4. staff for your Ghost Kitchen

Since Virtual Kitchens as purely virtual kitchens hardly or don't need front-line staff, you will usually have cooks on your payroll. Which and how many staff you choose to hire will depend on your budget and the needs of your operation.

5. create a delivery system/work with a meal delivery app.

When it comes to delivery of your meals, you can either use a Ghost Kitchen App of a third-party provider, set up your own delivery system on your official website, or even use a mixture of both. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of the two systems:

Ghost Kitchen Apps from third-party suppliers:

Food delivery services make it easy for customers to find you. However, all require Ghost Kitchen Apps from third-party providers a commission rate.

Ghost Kitchen Software

Website and app delivery system:

To process orders, you can create your own website, set up a point-of-sale (POS) system on your website, or create your own Cloud Kitchen App create and take orders via the app.

If you want to use your Ghost Kitchen App or website, you need to make sure that it is enticing enough for people to order food. You can get the help of App development agencies such as appleute, who will take care of the creation of a Ghost Kitchen app takes over.

If your app, which is supported by the appleute Team is developed, comes to the market, you are fully arrived in the online food industry.

6. offer excellent packing

Offer delivery and takeout, your packaging style is one of the most important parts of your business. Some tips for excellent packaging are:

  • Putting your logo or brand name on the packaging
  • Use tamper proof packaging
  • Choose the appropriate packaging material
  • Use technical packaging to keep food intact

How does a Ghost Kitchen work?

Not quite got behind it yet? We explain!

  1. Order: A Order from customers is accepted. As a rule take Ghost Kitchen Orders via a tablet or their app which is much more convenient than managing orders over the phone. 
  2. Preparation: The chef of the Cloud Kitchen then takes care of the Preparation of the meal. Most of the time needed to complete a job is spent preparing the meal. 
  3. Packing: Once the order is prepared, the kitchen staff packs the meal. This is an extra step compared to a typical food restaurant, but it is also a crucial step. Packaging plays an important role in ensuring food safety, protecting food from external influences, damage and leakage during the delivery process.
  4. DeliveryThe parcel is then delivered to the customer by a delivery fleet.

Examples of the creation of Ghost Kitchen

An excerpt of the most successful projects around the world

munchlabs

munchlabs

munchlabs is a Ghost Kitchen software company founded in 2023. 

Since 2019, the team prepared intensively for the launch of the munchlabs software. Today, the software is offered in three different packages: 

"Basic" for restaurant and canteen owners who want to try their hand at the Ghost Kitchen business. It includes a dedicated app for iOS and Google Store, inventory management and ordering systems. 

"Pro" includes all the features of the Basic version, plus kitchen management and kitchen display management on the line of the cook. 

"Enterprise" offers all the features of the Basic and Pro versions, plus delivery management with live tracking of drivers. 

The software is customized within 3 weeks in colors and design of the restaurant / canteen, and published in AppStore and PlayStore. So nothing stands in the way of their Ghost Kitchen success. 

CloudKitchens

CloudKitchens

CloudKitchens is a Ghost Kitchen company founded in 2016 by Diego Berdakin. 

In 2019, Uber founder Travis Kalanick was preparing to leave the Uber board. And he was already promoting his next project: a Ghost Kitchen Startup called CloudKitchens, which rents space to restaurants for delivery-only services. 

At the time, he had predicted that CloudKitchens would become bigger than Uber. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported that CloudKitchens had purchased more than 40 properties in nearly two dozen cities for more than $130 million.

With CloudKitchens you can create a Headless Kitchen Open in as little as 6 weeks with less capital and use their proven model for delivery. CloudKitchens takes care of logistics and fulfillment to ensure your orders are delivered more accurately and in less time. So you can maximize your order volume by running multiple brands and kitchens from a single kitchen with CloudKitchens.

KitchenUnited

Restaurant Delivery Service

Former McDonald's and Taco Bell executives have teamed up to create the fast-growing Kitchen United. The initial $10 million funding round was led by Google Ventures (GV), the investment fund of Google's parent company Alphabet. Recently, the first round of funding was increased by another $40 million. With its experienced founders and the power of Google behind it, Kitchen United is another big name to watch in the field of virtual kitchens should observe.

DoorDash

DoorDash

The first delivery platform to take a physical step into the market of the Ghost Kitchen is San Francisco-based Doordash. The company has opened a kitchen near Redwood City to help restaurant brands like Chick-fil-A expand their delivery services.

A "Ghost Kitchen" is strategically located to provide pickup and delivery to affluent residential areas, such as Palo Alto and Menlo Park, that participating restaurant brands have been unable to serve.

For DoorDash, this is an experimental step. It will be interesting to see the results and whether other delivery platforms follow suit.

Honest Food Company

Honest Food Company

Honest Food Company is Europe's leading chain of Ghost Kitchen restaurants. The company operates a rapidly growing network of delivery-only restaurants that prepare and deliver healthy food in key European markets. Honest Food Company is headquartered in Berlin, Germany, and has its development studio in Goa, India. 

Their kitchen teams train and prepare each restaurant's staff to prepare every dish their customers order to their strict specifications before it's delivered. They even provide their franchises with detailed preparation guidelines to ensure that every dish is cooked to perfection and tastes like the brand you know and love.

Chefly

Chefly

Chefly is a Ghost Kitchen App, which connects its customers with local chefs who are happy to prepare fresh, delicious and affordable meals for you. Customers can choose their favorite dish from the menu. 

Chefly then quickly finds nearby chefs and cooks who match the customer's preferences. Chefly saves customers time and allows them to enjoy excellent home-cooked meals prepared to their specifications. They can even rate and review the chef for their cooking skills and customer service.

Are you going to start a Ghost Kitchen?

appleute as Ghost Kitchen App Partner

Rising real estate prices tend to make "on-site" restaurant offerings less attractive. The increasing scarcity of resources has made it quite tempting and lucrative for restaurateurs to rely on Ghost Kitchens to switch. Since Virtual Kitchens easily accessible expansion opportunities to capitalize on the growing demand for food delivery, some of the established restaurant chains around the world are embracing this business model.

All in all, the concept of Headless Kitchen quite fascinating. The low-cost and high-yield advantage it offers, levels the playing field for start-upscompeting against multinational restaurant chains. Even if Ghost Kitchen their own challenges, entrepreneurs should focus on securing and increasing their revenues.

You need a suitable business model to serve your customers, for whom the Design and the Development that of your Ghost Kitchen related app are extremely important. A Virtual Kitchen App simplifies the process in many ways and also brings in a lot of leads. 

Your company needs a first class Ghost Kitchen App above all because it is in the Cloud Kitchens there are no reservation services for restaurant tables. Therefore, customers can only expect the food after they have placed their order via the Headless Kitchen App have abandoned, intended exclusively for the model of food supply.

Therefore, it is important not to compromise on the quality of the Ghost Kitchen App to enter and a Develop app, which is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also works flawlessly. appleute offers a continuous Cloud Kitchen App development serviceso you can focus on your business, and we take care of the bridge that connects you to your customers.

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