The seven steps to starting your own delivery-only restaurant

Delivery and takeaway are hardly new concepts. Chinese restaurants in big cities have been capitalizing on both for years, and pizza restaurants probably wouldn't still exist if they hadn't nailed down the process a long time ago. But delivery as a whole has seen some major transformations...

Published On:
January 25, 2021
January 25, 2021
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Transforming the Takeaway Business

Delivery and takeaway are hardly new concepts. Chinese restaurants in big cities have been capitalizing on both for years, and pizza restaurants probably wouldn't still exist if they hadn't nailed down the process a long time ago.

But delivery as a whole has seen some major transformations in the past decade or so. With more and more restaurants offering and even relying on delivery, we've gained more routes than ever to have food brought to our front door. Whether it's making a phone call, ordering online, or clicking "order again" on any one of our many delivery apps, the delivery business has become much more streamlined. So it's no surprise that we're now seeing even more delivery-only kitchens aiming to capitalize on this.

What's a delivery-only kitchen?

At face value, a delivery-only kitchen is fairly self-explanatory. It's a kitchen that only offers delivery. Simple enough, right? Right.

Well, the whole picture is often more complex. There are multiple setups that facilitate a delivery-only kitchen. For example, many of them operate out of cloud kitchens. Cloud kitchens are massive, warehouse-like spaces with many cooking stations in which individual restaurants rent out space to prepare food solely for delivery. This lowers overhead costs and allows the restaurants to focus solely on turning out delivery orders as quickly as possible.

Another type of restaurant that would fall under the category of delivery-only is a virtual restaurant. This is a restaurant that has no physical space other than its kitchen, which is often that of a "parent" restaurant, housing other smaller brands within its operations. Virtual restaurants and their menus only exist online, and operate solely for delivery.

Why are delivery-only kitchens so popular nowadays?

In a society where basically anything we want is at our fingertips, the idea of changing out of your PJs on a lazy night just to go grab pizza feels silly. Enter delivery.

As its popularity has risen, so has the infrastructure and software to facilitate it. Once upon a time, you actually had to pick up a phone and give your order and address to someone on the other end in order to get delivery. But now, with services like DoorDash, Grubhub, UberEats, etc., you just click a couple buttons and your. food is en route. This convenience has made delivery all the more appealing to a generation that is making fewer and fewer phone calls.

Plus, restaurants have had to make some major changes amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, and delivery is at the top of that list. While dining rooms operate at limited or zero capacity, and we enter colder months where outdoor seating isn't logical in some climates, delivery and take-out become your only two options for ordering your favorite food.

What's the difference between a standard restaurant and a delivery-only restaurant?

The most obvious difference is that you can't walk into a delivery-only restaurant and be seated or even place an order. In fact, you might not even know where a delivery-only restaurant operates out of.

Of course, most standard restaurants offer delivery, but along with it they have seating and front-of-house staff to greet you upon arrival. Delivery-only restaurants don't have these frills, rather choosing to focus on streamlining the delivery process. As discussed earlier, many of them may not even operate out of a typical restaurant kitchen, but rather a cloud kitchen or similar facility.

7 steps how to start delivery-only restaurant

  1. Find your place in the market.
    Try searching "Italian food" in whatever delivery app you usually use. There's probably about a million options, right? That's why you need to find your niche. Is there an empty space in the market you're operating in that needs filled? Do you have the know-how to fill it? If so, that's going to be the sweet spot.
  2. Develop your menu.
    One of the biggest challenges you'll face in operating your delivery-only restaurant is developing a menu that makes sense for delivery. If it's crucial that a certain dish stays at a certain temperature prior to consumption, it may not be the best idea. You don't want anything melting or getting too cold before it even gets to your customer. Plus, you can't offer dishes that take an hour to prepare; they need to be quick and efficient. While developing your menu, ensure that each dish will arrive to your customer in the best quality possible.
  3. Focus on branding.
    Gaining name recognition without a physical space is going to be very difficult. Be sure to establish a strong online presence, including a website and social media platforms, and maybe even look into hiring a talented branding expert to design you a logo.
  4. Set up your kitchen space.
    If you are starting completely from scratch, a commercial kitchen space, such as Cloud Kitchens, may be your best bet. Look into their offerings and figure out if they're right for you. If you are already a restaurant owner but want to develop a delivery-only brand, you may be able to operate this new brand out of your existing kitchen. That's for your to decide, but if not, a commercial kitchen space may be your best bet as well.
  5. Select your delivery partner(s).
    Once you make the food, someone's got to get it to the customer. Figure out which delivery partners offer the most promising partnerships in your area; maybe they'll be national brands like DoorDash and Grubhub, maybe they'll be local. Of course, if you operate out of a Cloud Kitchens location, they may already have a delivery team ready to go, so you might not even have to worry about this part.
  6. Launch.
    Once you have your menu, your brand, your space, and your delivery infrastructure in place, you're ready to go. Open for business and (hopefully) watch the orders pour in.
  7. Market, market, market.
    Of course, the work doesn't stop there. Be sure to stay on top of your marketing efforts to maintain and even increase name recognition. It doesn't matter how good your food is if only three people are ordering it. Work just as hard on your advertising as you do on your food, and you should be (or stay) in business.

If all that still sounds a little intimidating, we here at Forward Kitchens have still got you covered. With the help of our team, 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 hello@forwardkitchens.com or fill out this form to talk with a team expert!

Published On:
January 25, 2021

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