The Menu – the latest insights on restaurant technology trends, customer successes, and best practices.

The Essential Guide to Setting Up a Cloud Kitchen or Virtual Brand

COVID-19 isolation measures have led to an explosion in demand for centralised sites where restaurant-quality food can be prepared exclusively for delivery - often referred to as a dark kitchen, ghost kitchen, cloud kitchen, or a virtual brand.

While the number of cloud kitchens had been growing since the arrival of food delivery services such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo, the massive spike in demand for home-delivered food amid the pandemic has put these commissary kitchens back on the front burner. In some cases, restaurants that had been forced to shut down due to restrictions have taken out short-term leases in order to keep their customers satisfied via home delivery.

Delivery businesses, such as Deliveroo, are also leasing space to set up dark kitchens. Usually in more industrial-style properties with cheaper rent, which they sublet to individual restaurants. This allows couriers to collect the food from one centralised location. Dark kitchens can typically service 20 to 30 restaurant brands and are often operated out of warehouse spaces in the backstreets of high-density inner-city areas where food delivery is in high demand.

Deliveroo has more than 250 dark kitchens in approximately 35 locations around the world. Other global cloud kitchen providers include Karma Kitchen, CloudKitchens and Kitopi, with locations in America, Europe and Asia.

Cloud kitchens aren’t only for the bigger players. Pre-COVID-19, many smaller chains and independent restaurants were using this strategy to expand their existing business or to diversify their offering. During the crisis, cloud kitchens have become a necessity for many restaurants to stay afloat.

As we rebuild and reimagine the restaurant industry, cloud kitchens are a smart diversification strategy. Likewise, virtual brands are a great way to test new concepts without the overhead expense of brick and mortar.

With this in mind, we developed a guidebook for restauranteurs looking to pursue these strategies. This comprehensive guide outlines important considerations for anyone wanting to set up a cloud kitchen or virtual brand - from location, to packaging, staffing, marketing, technology and more!

Download the Essential Guide to Cloud Kitchens. Reach us by phone to discuss your unique needs at: US: +1 866-287-4736; UK: +44 207 5626 827; AU: 1300 366 386; LAD: 52 559 178 3146 | chat | or request a call back.

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