What is a dark kitchen?
Dark kitchens became popular in the recent COVID-19 pandemic where food and beverage (F & B) businesses started a new business model involving delivery and takeouts. This type of business operates without a storefront.
Is the Dark Kitchen model new?
It is not. In fact, Dark Kitchens have been practiced since the late 2000s with the emergence of more digitization of businesses. However, the COVID-19 pandemic boosted this segment with more people ordering food online. Because of this, there has been a surge in new third-party delivery apps as well. In fact, it has been predicted that this market would be more than US$2.6 billion by 2026.
How do dark kitchens help F&B businesses?
F&B businesses benefit most in terms of cost through dark kitchens. By focusing on production and food preparation, the businesses save on operating expenses as they no longer need a storefront.
What are the main features of dark kitchens?
They are also known as ghost kitchens, virtual or cloud kitchens. They primarily sell through delivery and takeouts. This means that customers can order their food through mobile apps or visit the shop to pick-up.
How effective are dark kitchens today?
While dark kitchens have been operating for some time now, most F&B businesses are well aware of what this model could do and how they could potentially save on cost. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the need for more food delivery services. This has caused brick-and-mortar F&B businesses to start providing food delivery services. Meanwhile, new startups have also begun tapping into this market with more stripped-down and simpler models as they choose not to provide dine-in services.
With dark kitchens, saving on operation costs becomes the main focal point. Businesses can reduce in their expenses in staffing and spaces can be further used for packaging and pick-ups.
Is this idea working and is it here to stay?
Dark kitchens are being practiced currently around the world and it will be the same in the near future. Because of the pandemic, food deliveries have become part of the new normal. Although restaurants will eventually be opened again, dark kitchens will still continue to grow mainly because it is cheaper and more cost-effective for restaurant operators.