Sometimes referred to as dark kitchens or ghost kitchens, cloud kitchens represent a new sector in the restaurant industry that is set to make waves. If you’re curious as to what this emerging trend actually is and whether or not it presents an opportunity for you, this article will help you get to the bottom of the topic.
Here, we’ll provide you with a solid grasp of the potential benefits that cloud kitchens might bring. Before anything else, however, let’s first establish what they are.
What are cloud kitchens in the first place?
Cloud kitchens are take-out only establishments that exist primarily online, hence their name. They are kitchens that provide no dine-in options, catering purely to food and drink orders that are made over the Internet.
Instead of having a traditional brick-and-mortar establishment with complete dining setups, cloud kitchens are entirely a kitchen operation with the addition of an order-management system.
When a customer places an order with a cloud kitchen, the kitchen prepares it much like a regular restaurant would, but the order is handed to a delivery service (usually a third-party provider) that ultimately brings it to the customer.
In this way, cloud kitchens can be seen as a response to the increased demand for food delivery. And because it appears that delivery is becoming the norm for most diners nowadays, this new way of running a restaurant presents a unique and interesting prospect.
The potential benefits and risks they present
Because this type of operation foregoes the need for a physical front-of-the-house, much of the expenses associated with maintaining a traditional restaurant are eliminated. Rent, utilities, staff salaries—these are all huge costs that can comprise more than half of most restaurant’s margins. That’s not even taking into account the actual investment it would take to build, decorate, and maintain a dining area.
All of these are effectively removed (or reduced by a significant degree) with a cloud kitchen setup. It’s no wonder why the model is growing more popular each day.
You could also make the argument that because you don’t have to manage a good chunk of the work involved in running a restaurant, you could focus more resources on ensuring a quality product.
Obviously, this is all theoretical. Just because the idea is well-founded and straightforward doesn’t mean that it can be applied to any type of restaurant. For one thing, a cloud kitchen is largely under the behest of third-party delivery providers. This begs the questions: “What happens to your business when the costs of working with these providers become too great?” and “What choices will you have if they decide to cease operations altogether?”
You might be able to develop your own system for taking and fulfilling customers’ orders, but there are no guarantees that those will be effective in the first place.
So what does this all mean? Ultimately, cloud kitchens are just like past restaurant trends. They are developments that address changes in the market, and while they might work for some, they might not for you. It all has to do with figuring out whether not how your restaurant can apply it realistically and making smart decisions based on what you learn.
We are a Texas-based supplier of kitchen equipment, parts, and systems with plenty of experience in the foodservice industry. If you’re interested in building a cloud kitchen for your business, get in touch with us to see how we can help.