Mar 4, 2021

Increasing Ghost Kitchen Trend Creates Opportunities for the Commercial Kitchen Appliance Industry

Post by 
Trudy-Ann Lemonias
With contactless food delivery on the rise, the need for dine-in customer experiences are less vital for restaurants in the new era of food service. For restaurant owners that means they have an opportunity to operate with less overhead costs and for the commercial kitchen appliance industry that means more opportunities for you to create custom kitchen appliance solutions to meet the new business format that your customers are operating in.
What is a ghost kitchen anyway?
Ghost kitchens (aka “virtual kitchens” or “cloud kitchens”) are restaurants that don’t have a dining space built in. They focus solely on fulfilling online orders for delivery. Or in some cases, existing restaurants who have extra kitchen space rent that kitchen space out to another restaurant in need that has a delivery-only model. With this food service model, restaurants rely on 3rd party delivery apps like UberEats, DoorDash and Grubhub to deliver food to their customers.
What is the trajectory of this trend?
Ghost kitchens became the hot new restaurant industry trend in 2019 because of the growing gig economy [3rd Party Delivery Apps] and an increased demand for food delivery. What no one saw coming in early 2020, however, was that the ghost kitchen trend would become a necessity for nearly every restaurant around the globe within a matter of months.  
Commercial Kitchen
With the emergence of COVID-19 and stay-at-home guidelines, many restaurants had to close to foot traffic, leaving them with a choice: either temporarily close, or pivot to a delivery or take-out model. In fact, delivery food service apps have grown 300% faster than traditional dine-in traffic since 2014. While DoorDash, UberEats, Postmates and Grubhub all more than doubled their revenues between April and September of 2020 in comparison to the previous year.
To support this massive spike in takeout and delivery orders, restaurant kitchens are scaling fast to cook enough orders to meet this voracious demand. Not to mention--the average American orders out at least once a week, and over 20% of Gen Z gets takeout more than three times a week. It’s obvious that the delivery market is booming. However, that comes with its own set of problems. Running a delivery-focused restaurant requires efficient workflows, kitchen appliances that can keep up with the demand, lean operation frameworks, and leading-edge technology.
What does this mean for the commercial kitchen appliance industry?
With ghost kitchens on the rise in popularity, customized kitchen equipment ideal for shared commercial kitchens will be needed. Some manufacturers are even now offering ghost kitchen customization packages.  Commercial kitchen appliance manufacturers work directly with virtual restaurants to help them select the equipment appropriate for their kitchen specs, then create, deliver, and install the equipment needed to create the final ghost kitchen. As the market opportunity is still relatively new, not many manufacturers are currently offering these services – which means it’s still a relatively untapped market opportunity.  Additionally, with a heightened focus on lowering operating costs while keeping up with all the technology needed for this new contactless food service era, energy efficient appliances and up-to-date technology are major factors that will impact the consumers’ purchasing decisions in the near future.
Where should you go from here?
Create systems that educate your customers on how to properly operate and troubleshoot their appliances.
Since most business owners that use ghost kitchens aren’t savvy on how to properly use commercial kitchen equipment, it’s important that you create systems that educate your customers on how to operate and troubleshoot their appliances. This means less service repairs calls for your technicians and more time for them to handle other pressing tasks within your organization.
It’s clear that our world is moving towards a technology-centered individualistic business and lifestyle model. Meaning, restaurants that once avoided the use of technology will eventually perish and the ones who do adapt will flourish. For those who pivot, they need your help to ensure that they can keep up with the orders coming through these 3rd party apps.
If a fryer is down, what systems are in place to help your customer quickly and easily get it back up and running? Of course, a service professional will be needed for more intricate appliance failure issues but what about the simple fixes or user errors?
Creating a video portal for customers to troubleshoot minor appliance issues on their own is a great opportunity for you to nurture the relationship with your customers, gaining their trust and keeping their business for future appliance purchases.
Reach out to us via our contact form if you’d like to explore the idea of creating this video portal for your customers. We specialize in video production for the kitchen appliance industry specifically training, instructional, and marketing videos.