Ghost Kitchens, like Cloud Kitchen, Kitchen United and Zuul Kitchens are experiencing a boom right now. These concepts allow restaurants to get up and running quickly and effectively. But there are a few things to know before stepping into this world.
There’s no doubt that this sector has a low entry cost. But while you may save your bucks with the equipment and operations, marketing your restaurant will require a bigger budget than your average restaurant. Ghost kitchens that rise to the top have a few things in common. Sure, they’re no different from most businesses out there, as in they want to retain customers, maximize revenue and increase profit!
But how do you do that when the only source of contact you have with customers is… your food? Would you believe us if we said we could make it easier for you? Here are a few pointers for you to follow as you go about starting your own ghost kitchen:
1. Plan Your Concept
Focus on the simplicity and variety of your menu items: offer a few standard choices and perfect your deliveries. The timing and temperature of your food should be considered right off the bat when developing your ghost kitchen. After all, your entire venture rests on ensuring sound deliveries. If your food arrives cold and soggy, you’re practically telling customers you aren’t worth their time.
2. Find A Commercial Kitchen
For you to start selling your food, you need to be cooking in a licensed commercial kitchen. Contact your city or county office and apply for a business license before you head out on your search for your ideal cooking space.
A shared kitchen, like CloudKitchens or Zuul Kitchens, is a great way to get your restaurants up quickly and start producing that great food of yours. Make sure you have viable liability policy as it may be required by this and other service providers and businesses you work with. As the owner of your business, you may also be required to have a ServSafe Manager Certification. This is a nationally recognized food safety course provided by the National Restaurant Association. It’s widely recognized and valid for three years, so take it online or in-person with one of their recommended instructors.
Once you’ve got the technicalities sorted out, get the health department on your side too. Apply for an inspection before you become operational: walk them through your process and your menu. They need to know you’re producing food safely, and within legal means.
3. Become A Stickler For Consistency & Quality
When you run a ghost kitchen, the only worthy physical interaction your customer has with your brand is through your food. They are ordering it, eating it, judging and reviewing it – while telling people whether they should order their next meal from you or not.
It’s all cool though. That’s where you can shine.
You don’t have to worry about décor or ambiance because you only have to be consistent with your quality and your taste to win over new clients. Your food is your business, but it’s also your brand. If you’re planning on retaining customers (which we’re hoping you are), you should know the quality you put out there directly affects positive customer experiences.
4. Prioritize Your Packaging
Stamping your logo onto a brown paper bag is no longer enough. You need smart packaging that not only safely carries your food to your customer but also intrigues them to learn more about your brand.
Consider the quality of your packaging and the complimentary items you send along: you could brand your tissues or have custom utensils that customers will love! It isn’t a coincidence that Dunkin Donuts’ orange, pink and brown logo makes you think of freshly brewed coffee. Your brand packaging represents your production process and the effort you put into your food.
We all know that fries are one of the worst foods at traveling. For items, like fries, that need to be kept hot during the delivery, be sure to get clamshells that allow for proper ventilating while still keep that warm temperature. Nobody enjoys overly soggy fries with their burger.
Why let go of opportunities to build on your brand perception?
5. Find a Strong Delivery Partner
Hangry customers aren’t fun to deal with, so make sure you always send out food on time. You can leave the entire delivery process to specialized service providers who know just how to navigate the streets to make piping hot deliveries.
These third-party delivery services usually charge a commission for managing this critical aspect of your business. You get to leverage a technology platform that offers reliable delivery and make it easier for people to find you. When choosing a delivery service, find out who services your area, and make sure they are a trustworthy partner for your business.
6. Use Impactful Marketing Solutions
Like we’ve said – your food is your most important marketing touchpoint. But when consumers come directly to your website, what kind of image are you portraying? What good is food photography and amazing advertising slogans if you can’t streamline the messaging? Ghost kitchen brands must provide remarkable experiences.
The hardest part about starting a ghost kitchen is building your clientele, and your website will probably be their first impression. Also, what social media channels are you using to market your brand? You need to be sure you’re tapping into the right market when you share brand content. Plan out how you’re going to get everyone to hear about your brand.
7. Count On Lunchbox
Lunchbox is an all-in-one solution for restaurants to elevate their guest experiences and make their digital ordering more efficient. We can streamline your entire omnichannel presence to help you avoid third-party rip-offs through our trusted partners.
We’ll spice up your digital ordering experience by analyzing your sales operations and providing real-time data that can enhance your decision making. Use the data you collect, it’s all yours by the way, unlike those third-party sites, to create powerful targeted marketing campaigns that are relevant to your guests.
Before you dive head-first into your new business, take some time to weigh the success factors and the potential pitfalls of operating as a ghost kitchen. There is no denying the fact that this is the right time to open a ghost kitchen – with the coronavirus pandemic taking over the world, food delivery is on a roll as customers simply refuse to leave their homes. If you are ready to take the initiative, let’s get started today,
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