Going Virtual: How to Operate a Ghost Restaurant

A ghost restaurant is a concept in which a restaurant only accepts orders for delivery. You won’t find any physical restaurant where you can dine in or order food to go. The restaurant accepts orders online and hires a third-party service to deliver the food to the customers.

Although brick-and-mortar restaurants are still popular, ghost restaurants are increasing in number. According to a report by Forbes, online food ordering could grow to $365 billion worldwide by 2030.

If you want to run a ghost restaurant, it pays to know what you’re getting into before starting to plan. Here are the things you need to know to help you get started:

Why Should You Run a Ghost Restaurant?

Ghost restaurants are easier to scale than their traditional counterparts. You only need space for storage and prep use, lowering your rent and utility costs. Since you won’t have customers dining in, you won’t need front-of-house staff, reducing your payroll expenses.

With lower overhead costs, you can bring down the price of your meals, making you a convenient and attractive choice for your customers. This is especially the case if you’re planning to offer healthy meals.

Since ghost restaurants can scale their operations quickly, they can adjust their operations faster than traditional ones. Using the latest technology, you can keep up with the latest trends and meet your customers’ changing needs.

Making Your Ghost Restaurant a Success

Despite the benefits of running a ghost restaurant, certain issues will hinder your success. Here are the problems you’ll encounter as a ghost restaurant and how you can solve them:

1. Keeping Meals Intact for Delivery

Make sure that your meals are packaged in a way that it’s in one piece upon delivery. If you’re delivering sandwiches, leave the sauces on insulated containers.

2. Optimise Your Online Presence

Since your business lives solely online, customers won’t be able to pass by your restaurant and enquire about it. Improve your online presence through:

  • Search engine optimisation (SEO): Make it easy for your target audience to find you online.
  • Social media: Create accounts on platforms where your prospective customers hang out to engage with them.
  • Positive reviews: Encourage your customers to leave online feedback on your restaurant to encourage others to try your food.

Chef3. Combine Native Online Ordering with Third-Party Deliveries

Most ghost restaurants partner with third parties, like GrubHub and UberEats, to deliver to their customers. Unfortunately, these restaurants have no control over the customer service these deliveries provide. Offset any horrible customer experience by offering a native online ordering system.

4. Don’t Forget About Compliance

Just because you run your business online doesn’t mean you have to forget about permits and certifications. Apart from the usual business permits, make sure your staff is trained, especially if you’re offering specialised meals. For example, it helps if your natural chef is certified for creating organic meals.

5. Don’t Hold Back on Equipment or Kitchen Layout

Don’t skimp on equipment or kitchen layout when outfitting a dark kitchen. Designing your kitchen for optimal performance improves your team’s productivity, leading to better quality food.

Even if you’re not running a brick-a-mortar establishment, operate your ghost restaurant as if you’re running a traditional one. Make the most of your expenses and continuously improve your customer experience to stand out among your competitors.

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