How To Run A Successful Cloud Kitchen Location
It's no secret that delivery is gaining popularity quickly. You no longer have to leave your house — or even dial a phone number — to enjoy your favorite meals. Wait times are decreasing and instant gratification is key. The pandemic has, of course, only magnified this.
January 25, 2021
What Is The Cloud Kitchen Business Model?
It's no secret that delivery is gaining popularity quickly. You no longer have to leave your house —or even dial a phone number — to enjoy your favorite meals. Wait times are decreasing and instant gratification is key. The pandemic has, of course, only magnified this. Less people are opting to dine-in, and there are fewer options to do so even if they wanted to. So, the restaurant industry has had to adapt to remain profitable. That's why Cloud Kitchens operates with a fairly simple goal: making delivery as efficient and easy as possible.
So how do Cloud Kitchens work? Basically, they are massive commercial kitchen spaces with multiple cooking stations. Restaurateurs can rent one or more of these spaces in which to operate a virtual kitchen for delivery only. Orders come in through services such as Grubhub, DoorDash, etc., or a brand's own website, and are received through provided tablets at the cooking stations. Then, orders are prepared quickly and efficiently before being handed off to a team of delivery drivers, also provided by Cloud Kitchens. This streamlines the delivery process and cuts out unnecessary frills and costs. After awhile, Cloud Kitchens' provided software will catch on to trends in orders and help you streamline the process more, or change your menu if need be.
How To Run A Cloud Kitchen Restaurant
The process of starting and maintaining a Cloud Kitchen restaurant will look somewhat different depending on your situation. If you're starting a brand new restaurant, you'll have a few more things to worry about than just securing the space and churning out orders. First, you'll need name recognition, which will be difficult to gain without a physical location and an appealing storefront. This means you'll need to put a lot of effort into branding, building a website, establishing a strong social media presence, etc. If you aren't particularly tech savvy, you may want to hire a branding expert or designer to give you a hand here, but this will certainly be key to getting noticed in an extremely competitive market. If you already have an established brand, but need more capacity for delivery or want to capitalize on its rising popularity, the process may luckily be a little easier.
Regardless of your situation, there are some common steps you'll need to take, the first of which will be figuring out how much space you need to rent and scheduling a tour with a Cloud Kitchens facility in the market you want to open in or expand into. If you're starting from scratch, you should probably play it safe with just one or two stations at first and expand from there. If you're ready to expand a massive delivery operation out from your established brand, or scale operations for multiple brands, you might need something more. That's for you to decide.
Your next step will be developing a delivery-optimized menu. Even if you already have an established menu at your restaurant, you most likely have many items that are not good fits for delivery. You can't optimize your delivery process with dishes that will take too long to prepare, melt before they reach your customer, etc. Focus on efficiency and consistent quality. It may seem a little less exciting, but you need to select menu items that can easily be prepared the same way with the same quality every single time.
Just as your food offerings need to be ready for efficient and lightning-speed preparation, so does your staff. Be sure the chefs you hire are ready to work in such a fast paced environment. As nice as it would be to work in a calming kitchen with classical music playing, that's simply not the reality when you have 43 delivery orders coming in every hour. They'll have to stay on task and get used to a fast rhythm.
No matter how long your kitchen has been operational, you'll need to maintain continued marketing efforts. This especially applies if you're operating a new brand with less name recognition, but is still crucial for established brands as well. Do your consumers know you're offering delivery? Do they know where to order it? Do they know how quickly you can handle orders? Make sure all of this is being communicated on your website and social media so that they know you're the place to go (figuratively, of course) for a delicious meal in minutes.
If you're doing everything right, you'll be able to rent even more space and prepare even more orders for your growing consumer base.
Main advantages of starting a Cloud Kitchen Business
Most of the advantages of starting a Cloud Kitchen business fall into one of two categories: cost and convenience.
When you operate out of a Cloud Kitchen, pretty much all of your costs are lowered compared to operating out of a standard restaurant. You don't have to worry about keeping the lights on, paying servers, or even paying rent for a restaurant space and storefront you won't utilize. If you're operating multiple brands out of the same Cloud Kitchen space, or other brands in the space need similar ingredients to you, they can be ordered in bulk, saving all of you money. In addition, their warehouse-like facilities are usually located in less expensive areas just outside whatever community you're serving. So, not only is rent cheaper because you're only paying for what you need, but also because it was never that expensive to begin with. All of this means you can start a delivery-only restaurant or expand the delivery capabilities of your current restaurant with minimal risk.
Cloud Kitchens also makes it as convenient as possible for you to start a location in their facility. They handle time consuming things like cleaning, so you show up every day to a spotless workspace. They even provide the software and technology needed for you to receive and fulfill orders, all from a single tablet. Then, once your orders are ready, they worry about having delivery partners on site to transport the meals to your customers. Essentially, they do everything except cook the food. Because of how easy it is to start a location in Cloud Kitchens, they claim that they can have you set up and operating your business within a month, and breaking even in just six, so you can start turning out profits.
Of course, you can never truly be guaranteed success, especially in a market as competitive as the restaurant industry. But if there ever were a time to focus on delivery by investing in Cloud Kitchens, it's now. Delivery orders are on the rise, and don't appear to be slowing down. Starting a virtual kitchen for delivery only can be intimidating, but with the tips and info above, you should feel a little more confident paving your way. So go forth, get ready to move fast, and start turning out those delicious meals for your eager pajama-clad customers.
Or, if you're looking for something even less difficult, a virtual restaurant might be for you. With the help of our team here at Forward Kitchens, you can use your existing operation, however big or small, to launch a virtual restaurant with multiple brands. This means you'll have even more chances to reach consumers, with even less investment.
We'll handle branding, website and menu design, and everything else needed to get you going. All you have to do is what you're best at: make great food (just for more people). If this sounds more like what you need, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this form to talk with a team expert!