This innovative type of restaurant sells meals only through one or multiple delivery platforms. Dining in a physical restaurant is not an option. Meals can only be consumed after delivery at home or another place of 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.
Hereby the restaurants rely solely on sales through online platforms. In fact, it is the rise of online delivery platforms such as UberEats, Deliveroo, JustEat and many more that make dark kitchens possible. These online systems enable food businesses to connect with customers and easily and quickly deliver meals to their residences.
Furthermore, as online platforms intervene, there is no face-to-face contact between the restaurant and the customer. 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, an obsession with convenience and personalised ‘experiences’… These are just a few factors disrupting 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 since 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. Eventually the product is delivered at the requested time and place. This transformation has also been adapted in the food business. Hence, we have arrived at an era of ordering food through apps and getting prepared meals delivered at the requested time and place.
Millennials as Consumers
This generation born between 1981 and 2001 are the consumers that drive the market in almost every sector, including the food business. Millennials grew up with technology and the convenience of applications. For them waiting is not an option. They are used to overnight shipping, instant online payments and communication world wide at every time of the day. Consequently the foor business also needs to be convenient and fast to serve millennials, this is where dark kitchens fill in the gap.
Dark kitchens are rising as market growth foresees the food delivery market will have grown by at least 20% by 2022. We are at the dawn of a new restaurant era where ‘dark kitchen’ will become a common term.