What is the difference between ghost kitchens & virtual restaurants?
As delivery becomes more and more popular, you've probably been hearing the terms "ghost kitchen" and "virtual restaurant" being thrown around a lot. But what are they? At a glance, they may seem extremely similar, and in many ways they are. However, they have some important differences.
January 25, 2021
As delivery becomes more and more popular, you've probably been hearing the terms "ghost kitchen" and "virtual restaurant" being thrown around a lot. But what are they?
At a glance, they may seem extremely similar, and in many ways they are. However, they have some important differences. If you're thinking of opening up or investing in one or the other, it's important to know what you're getting yourself into. That's where we come in.
How a ghost kitchen works
A ghost kitchen, also often called a cloud kitchen, is a commercial kitchen space that restaurant brands rent space in to optimize orders for delivery. They're popular for two main reasons: cost and convenience. Ghost kitchen spaces offer no-frills, streamlined cooking setups, making them much cheaper to rent than an entire storefront that you don't even need.
In most cases, all of the equipment and logistics are taken care of for you by the owner of the space. Plus, with multiple brands operating in one large space (whether they're related to one another or not), many ingredients and supplies can be ordered in bulk, further reducing costs. So, as you can see, the savings start adding up pretty quickly. Many companies even provide drivers for you, so you don't have to worry about which delivery brands are best to partner with in your area.
This makes ghost kitchens ideal for any brand that needs to up their capacity for delivery orders without spending too much money, but doesn't have the space in their existing operation to do so.
How a virtual restaurant works
Virtual restaurants are restaurant brands that exist solely online, for delivery orders only. Often, they operate as an additional brand within the existing operations of a larger restaurant. In some ways, they're similar to ghost kitchens, but the key differences are the space they operate out of and why they exist. Ghost kitchens accommodate needs for more space or the desire to deliver to new locations. In contrast, virtual restaurants are typically born out of the capability to take on more orders in a current space, and the desire to reach consumers in a new market under a new name.
This means virtual restaurants are great for brands that have the manpower and the space to prepare more orders, but need another contact point to receive those orders.
So, which is right for you?
It all depends on your current operation's capabilities as well as which new market (if any) you want to tap into. If your current operation has absolutely no bandwidth to take on additional orders, you pretty much have to go with a ghost kitchen. In addition, if you'd like to start delivering in a new geographic market, ghost kitchens offer a cheap way to expand physically without a huge investment.
If you're not looking to tap into a new market location-wise, but would like to reach more consumers in your current area, then a virtual restaurant brand is probably better for you. This is especially true if you have the capacity in your current operations to handle that many orders.
If this sounds like you, feel free to hit us up at Forward Kitchens. With our help. 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 like your cup of tea, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this form to talk with a team expert!