There’s no way around it—ghost kitchens are taking over. If the idea of embracing this modern concept sounds more like a horror movie than a potentially profit-boosting strategy, don’t worry. By arming yourself with the right tools, ghost kitchens don’t have to be scary.

Whether you’re considering opening one of your own, or you just want to stay in the loop, this post will provide all the information you need to take the fear out and bring the fun in with ghost kitchens:

Ghost Kitchens are Possessing the Restaurant World

Ghost kitchens are commercial spaces designed specifically for delivery-only models. Their sole purpose is to provide a cooking space for business owners, meaning operators don’t have to deal with the logistics and expenses of running a dining room. 

These spaces are optimized to crank out delivery orders quickly and efficiently. They include features like driver parking, state-of-the-art tablets, and check-in spaces to make the entire process a breeze. Since ghost kitchens are often located in large warehouses, they can even be shared by multiple vendors. Some brands’ entire business revolves around a ghost kitchen, while others adopt a more hybrid model that includes both a ghost kitchen and a brick-and-mortar location. 

Ghost kitchens require a smaller real estate footprint, less staff, and less capital to get started than brick-and-mortar stores. It’s easy to see why seasoned restaurateurs and new entrepreneurs alike are drawn to the idea of running a ghost kitchen. Less risk makes the barrier to entry low, and today’s delivery-centric market means the potential for reward is high.    

Ghost kitchens go by many names, including:

  • Cloud kitchens
  • Virtual kitchens
  • Commissary kitchens
  • Shared kitchens
  • Virtual restaurants
  • Dark kitchens

Whatever you want to call them, the concept of operating a commercial cooking space without a dining room has taken the hospitality world by storm—and it’s a trend that’s here for the long haul. According to a report by the National Restaurant Association, ghost kitchens becoming increasingly common is one of the ‘most likely industry developments by 2030’.

Ghost Kitchens Don’t Run Themselves

Although operating a ghost kitchen eliminates the headaches involved in running a traditional dining room, there’s still an incredible amount of planning required for success. As nice as it would be for a crew of friendly ghosts to work the line, ghost kitchens don’t run themselves—and you need to attract real customers to order from your virtual location. 

Conceptualizing a ghost kitchen entails asking yourself many of the same questions you would when opening a more traditional concept. To get started, think about:

  • How are you going to develop your menu in a way that’s geared towards delivery-friendly items? 
  • What tools are you going to use (3rd-party delivery platforms, POS systems, inventory management tools)? 
  • What are you going to sell, and how will you set yourself apart from your competitors? 
  • How are you going to source your ingredients, and who’s going to prepare them? 
  • Why does opening a ghost kitchen make more sense for your brand than opening a traditional restaurant?
  • How are you going to track success?

Track Success—Don’t Let the Data Ghost You 

Once you’ve laid the groundwork with the questions above, you’ll likely find that since ghost kitchens are new concepts, there are fewer tried and true methods out there to guide the process. The experimental nature of ghost kitchens means tracking your success is especially important. In order to determine if your ghost kitchen is worth the investment of time, money, and resources, you need to have a firm grasp on what’s happening within your business.  

Your kitchen may be virtual, but your data is incredibly real. Unlike a ghost, Craftable’s data won’t disappear. We analyze every item, transaction, sale, and cost so you can keep track of what’s working—and what isn’t. 

Meticulously monitoring your data means you’ll never be in the dark about your ‘dark kitchen’. From accounting to paperless ordering, to invoicing, nothing slips through the cracks with Craftable.

As ghost kitchens expand their reach, operators need to rely on more than just their sixth sense to run their business. By taking a data-driven approach to ghost kitchens, technology can help these modern concepts succeed. 

The Right Tools Will Make Your Guests Believe in Ghost Kitchens

We hope that by now, ghost kitchens don’t seem like such a mystery. At the end of the day, the most important part of any restaurant will always be creating delicious, memorable dishes that customers love. With Craftable, it doesn’t matter what kind of kitchen you run—we can help you run it based on data.