How To Start Your Dark Kitchen
Last week we shed some light on the mystery of dark kitchen. We talked about the explosion in the popularity of takeaway and its opportunities. If you want to know why you should get into this industry don’t hesitate in checking out right here. This short guide, inspired by Deliverect, will help you get your business started.
Choose your location
When you’re in the takeaway industry, one of the benefits of the dark kitchen is that a location with high foot traffic is not necessary. At the same time, you need to be in a location that delivery drivers can easily access. Consider these things the parking and accessibility for delivery drivers, even those with trucks. The utilities at the facility may be another factor to look at.
Find your unique angle or niche
There it is. That word again. But it is important in any business venture to have a narrow description of the group you want to serve. Take a look at this article for more information about niches and USP.
Deliverect also suggests that you can have different brands if your business has various focuses. This will allow you to capture a bigger slice of the market while still focusing on small niches.
Plan your dark kitchen design and layout
The design of your kitchen will be dependent on the type of food and the processes you’ll use to deliver. A dark kitchen can be optimized for deliveries as you can create an assembly line that leads from creation t packing. It will also depend on the food being cooked. Mcdonald’s uses at least two assembly lines in the middle with food being cooked on the sides to optimize movement. This model will not work for fine dining takeaway, because the foods will need to be cooked and stored differently to preserve quality.
Food safety and other paperwork
Make sure you get your paperwork in order. You will need to incorporate your company and get the necessary insurances and licences to be permitted to sell food. Furthermore, there will be certain inspections needed to certify the safety of your food as well as your premises. Without those, you will not be able to sell food legally and may face fines and closure of your company.
Remember JustEat? They are just one of the many food-delivery providers around. Using a platform can be great because it can act as publicity for a wider consumer base. They do, however, take a commission from the revenue, and you will be relying on another company’s employee to provide face-to-face interaction.
You could also go solo. Using in-house drivers may be more consuming, but you will be controlling the whole process from creation to delivery.
Staffing your dark kitchen
As we have discussed numerous times, staffing will be one of, if not your biggest cost. There will be major savings, as you won’t need front staff (hosts, waiters, etc.) but having quality kitchen staff is still imperative. Those savings could be used on a quality control manager or production supervisor.
Optimize your menu for delivery
One of the most important factors customers consider when comparing restaurants online is the look and content of the menu. This means streamlining your menu to only include items that travel well. And looking at the data to find out what items are profitable, popular, and most efficient to produce. Knowing which dishes will perform best can help you plan your production line in harmony with your menu, and include a mix of profitable, efficient, and popular items.
Get on board with the latest technology
Unlike any other kind of restaurant, dark kitchens are essentially driven by technology, from ordering platforms to point of sale systems to kitchen displays and delivery systems. The specific combination of tech solutions you use will depend on the needs of your business. Your systems should be able to communicate well and give accurate data for you to analyze.
As soon as your ghost kitchen is up and running, things start to get interesting. You are now seeing how well your technical and layout choices worked. The value of having a solid tech platform comes from the ability to analyze data at every phase of order processing and production, enabling you to streamline operations and optimize your offerings.
Use the data to optimize your business in every area including order management to maximize volume, streamlining order flow through the kitchen, and optimizing your menu prices and dish choices.
Exploit every marketing channel
From the packaging to your online pressence, marketing is am extremely important part of the process. According to Porch.com, in order to reach new customers, you should create ane eye-catching menu and packaging and use professional pictures of your best menu items.
If you don't have a physical location or foot traffic, your virtual restaurant won't build a community. You need to invest in an online presence, which means having a website, using delivery platforms, and participating in review sites and social media. You should be as active as possible across as many social media platforms as possible - Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok - engaging with customers and building a community.
You can also start monitoring online reviews and responding to both positive and negative reviews, encourage customer referrals, and create loyalty programs and email marketing campaigns to foster repeat business.
We hope you've learned a few things about how to start a dark kitchen business. Take some time to also read this post on How to sell food online.
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