Are you considering entering the booming world of ghost kitchens?
Ghost Kitchens innovative culinary ventures have been gaining significant traction in recent years, offering a cost-effective and efficient way to run a food business.
With the rise in online food delivery services and the changing preferences of consumers, ghost kitchens have emerged as a viable option for aspiring restaurateurs and established brands alike.
Opening any type of restaurant can be an overwhelming process. You have to make many decisions. For example, what type of restaurant you are opening, do you have investors, the theme of the restaurant, which suppliers will you choose and why, etc.
We want to help you make the process less overwhelming to save you the headaches, which is why we have prepared a list of steps you can follow to ensure you are ready to open up your Ghost Kitchens.
Ghost kitchens are expected to hold a 50% share of the world’s drive-thru and takeaway foodservice markets. Additionally, food delivery orders increased by 67% in 2020, alone. This shows Ghost Kitchens have a lot of potential in the hospitality industry.
The first stage to opening a Ghost Kitchen involves choosing the theme of your kitchen, whether you will buy or lease a kitchen, getting funding, getting licenses and permits for the kitchen, etc.
Theme of restaurant
By choosing the theme of the kitchen we mean choosing the type of food your kitchen will serve. You could serve Mexican, Chinese, Thai, fusion cuisine, Italian, French, Greek, etc inspired food.
Following that, you’ll want to choose whether you’ll be servicing all vegan dishes, a mix of vegan and regular dishes, or no vegan-friendly dishes.
You don’t have to be tied down to your choice of concept, since your Ghost Kitchen restaurant is not a brick-and-mortar business, you can easily and inexpensively change the concept of your kitchen.
Along with the theme of your restaurant, you will be required to create a menu for your Ghost Kitchen. This process will involve planning and creating a list of dishes that you will want to serve.
After deciding on the list of dishes, you will want to hire a designer or design a menu yourself that fits the theme and message chosen for your Ghost Kitchen.
You can create a printable and digital PDF menu, or you can wait and decide on the design of the menu once you have chosen an online ordering platform/system.
Buying or leasing
During this time you will also want to decide whether you will be buying or leasing a space for your ghost kitchen. This step can involve deciding if you will buy or lease a kitchen in a building or if you will buy or lease a food truck to have a transportable business.
If you decide to buy or lease a kitchen in a physical building you will also need to decide in what area and city you want to look for a space. This step will save you time from looking at hundreds or thousands of options and will narrow down the locations that only interest you.
Lastly, if you are deciding to buy or lease a food truck to operate your Ghost Kitchen, this decision will involve deciding whether you are interested in a food truck with an already functioning kitchen or one without. A food truck with an already functioning kitchen has its advantages.
One of those is that you will save time and money from looking for kitchen equipment and hardware. These types of food trucks are on the pricier side compared to food trucks without kitchen equipment but it will save you time and headaches.
Registering the business
To continue with the process, you are required to register your business to ensure that it follows guidelines like the Charter of the French Language in Quebec, Canada.
This Charter states that a business name must be French to comply with the Charter and be eligible to be officially registered.
Searching for investors could help you and your Ghost Kitchen in the short and long run. Obtaining funding at the beginning stages of starting a Ghost Kitchen will help you have enough resources to get started.
But also having investors that stay with you and invest for the foreseeable future will allow you to continue expanding your business.
Licenses and permits
To open and operate your Ghost Kitchen, you are required to obtain certain licenses and permits. The type of license and permits you require will vary depending on the city, region, county, and country you will be operating your Ghost Kitchen.
The following are some of the licenses and permits that may be required:
- Business operation license
- Food service license
- Food handler permit
- Parking permits (If choosing food truck style Ghost Kitchen)
- Building occupancy certificate
- Employer identification number
- Employee health
- Alcohol serving license
- Seller’s permit
To successfully open your Ghost Kitchen with no problems, you will need to ensure you have all the correct permits and licenses.
In this stage of the process, you will be required to begin the interviewing and hiring process if needed. You may want to run your Ghost Kitchen on your own but if that is not the case, then you will be required to first publish a job advertisement.
Following that, once you have several applicants you will be required to begin the interviewing process to have staff hired before your business opens.
If you decide that you will require additional staff, aside from yourself, you will also need to research health plans for those employees. Furthermore, this step will also include establishing proper hygiene practices and safety guidelines to prevent future injuries.
An incredibly important step in opening your Ghost Kitchen is having the right online ordering equipment. During this stage, you will be required to choose the POS system and online ordering system/platform that you will use for your business.
The chosen online ordering system will need to be a great fit for your Ghost Kitchen. If the system is not equipped to handle a large number of orders in a day, and that is a part of your business, you will need to reconsider the system you choose.
Marketing and operations
Following the equipment stage, you will be required to research and select your suppliers. You will need to research whether it is best to have local suppliers or not depending on your business.
You will also need to decide on the operations hours of your Ghost Kitchen. Will it be open from morning to night, from lunchtime to late evening, only evenings, only night, etc.
After purchasing an online ordering system you will also require to ensure that your Ghost Kitchens website is working with no issues. You would not want to realize that on the day of your opening your website is down and no orders can be placed.
Your online website is a critical part of your Ghost Kitchen, even more so with most Ghost Kitchens being online-only.
To ensure the success of your Ghost Kitchen, you need a marketing plan to bring awareness and customers to your business. This includes hiring a photographer to take photos of your dishes and other aspects of your Ghost Kitchen to create promotional content.
You will also need to set up social media accounts to raise awareness of your Ghost Kitchen. Social media is a great way to interact with customers and learn about their likes and dislikes, which will help you make informed decisions about the dishes to include in your menu.
Here are some specific actions you can take:
- Hire a photographer to take photos of your dishes and other aspects of your Ghost Kitchen. This will help you create promotional content that will attract customers.
- Set up social media accounts for your Ghost Kitchen. Be sure to post regularly and engage with your followers.
- Create TripAdvisor and Yelp accounts. These platforms allow customers to leave reviews, which can help you build your reputation.
- Offer discounts and promotions to attract new customers. This is a great way to get people to try your food and become repeat customers.
- Partner with other businesses in your area. This could involve cross-promotion or offering discounts to each other’s customers.
- Attend industry events. This is a great way to network with other restaurateurs and learn about new marketing strategies.
A soft opening is an unofficial opening of a business. Many businesses like casinos have soft openings to do additional research and test out their operations. It is a great way to work out quick and small issues before your official opening to ensure that everything runs smoothly on the special opening day.
For the special day, offer discounts, specials, and giveaways to encourage customers to order from your Ghost Kitchen. For example, offer a pizza + drinks + side combo.
-> Additional tips:
- Start small.
Don’t try to do too much at once. Start with a small menu and a limited number of locations. As you grow, you can expand your offerings.
- Be flexible.
The restaurant industry is constantly changing, so you need to be flexible and adaptable. Be prepared to change your plans as needed.
- Network with other ghost kitchen owners.
There are a lot of other ghost kitchen owners out there who can offer advice and support. Get involved in online forums and attend industry events.
- Stay up-to-date on the latest trends.
The restaurant industry is constantly evolving, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. This will help you ensure that your ghost kitchen is ahead of the curve.
Here are some additional tips for opening a successful ghost kitchen:
- Choose a location that is convenient for delivery drivers.
- Partner with a third-party delivery service that has a strong presence in your area.
- Offer a variety of food options to appeal to a wide range of customers.
- Keep your menu prices competitive.
- Provide excellent customer service.
- Be responsive to customer feedback.