Dark kitchens are on the rise. This innovative type of restaurant is delivery only: it sells meals exclusively through one or multiple delivery platforms. Dining in a physical restaurant is not an option, so meals coming out of this kitchen can only be consumed at home or at any other place of your choice.
Many terms, one concept
Dark kitchen, virtual kitchen, cloud kitchen, ghost restaurant and delivery-only restaurant all refer to the same idea: a restaurant that sells meals exclusively through delivery systems.
In other words, restaurants rely solely on sales through online platforms. In fact, it is the success of online delivery platforms such as UberEats, Deliveroo, JustEat and many more that paved the way for dark kitchens. These third-party delivery channels enable food businesses to easily connect with customers and quickly deliver meals to their residences.
With online platforms intervening, all face-to-face contact between the restaurant and the customer has disappeared. Needless to say, dark kitchens must harness cutting-edge technologies and new marketing techniques to reach and keep their demanding audiences.
What drives this new restaurant type?
Less free time, the rise of online business models, a fixation on convenience and personalised experiences: these are just a few factors that influence almost every industry today – including the food business. The demands of digital-age consumers combined with new technologies are transforming the way restaurants operate from the kitchen floor and up.
Technology has changed the consumer market incredibly in the past couple of years. Nowadays you can order a product or service from the other side of the world, personalise it, and pay for it online within seconds. Some time after, the product is delivered at the requested time and place. This phenomenon has also been adopted by the food business. It’s the dawn of a new era, where food is ordered via apps and ready meals are delivered at a convenient place and time.
Millennials as Consumers
Born between 1981 and 2001, millennials are the consumers that drive the market in almost every sector, including the food industry. Millennials grew up around and with technology and the convenience of applications. For them waiting is not an option. They are used to overnight shipping, instant online payments and world-wide communication at every time of the day. The food, beverage and restaurant industry needed to reinvent itself to serve millennials and comply with their demands. This is where dark kitchens fill in the gap.
Virtual kitchens are rising as the food delivery market is foreseen to only keep on expanding. We’re at the dawn of a new restaurant era where ‘dark kitchen’ will become a common term.