Are you looking for the fastest way to get riches in the foodservice industry? What about if you consider expanding your physical brick and motor building before going into debt? Try a virtual restaurant. Before you start a virtual restaurant, you need to read this article to know everything required and the guidelines for its success.
Virtual restaurant comes in different names including ghost restaurant, online-only restaurant, delivery-only restaurant and dark kitchen. In virtual restaurants, the majority of business activities are conducted via a tablet, smartphone or computer.
Virtual restaurants lack the traditional storefront like large dining rooms, signage and décor. The only requirement for a successful virtual restaurant is a kitchen and a good delivery system.
The Working Principle of a Virtual Restaurant
Virtual restaurants work in a straightforward way where customers contact the restaurant via mobile application (if there have one) or website. Through an online site or software, customers can have a full view of the menu, place an order and pay for the food they ordered either by bank transfer, credit card or any applicable money transfer platform.
After placing an order, the virtual restaurant website notifies the kitchen management to start preparing the particular food. When ordering food in a virtual restaurant, you need to include the location of delivery.
The delivery system consists of a driver who will transport the food to the indicated location when the meal is ready.
The funds are released to your business once the customer receives the order and completes the transaction.
Benefits of Owning a Virtual Restaurant
Risk plays a big part in all-new business entities. However, starting a virtual restaurant poses fewer risks compared to a traditional restaurant.
The simple nature of a virtual restaurant reduces expenses like utility staffs, furniture and square footage. A virtual restaurant ensures that you don’t invest heavily in facilities before making money first.
A virtual restaurant eliminates the need for buying storage frontage, elaborate décor and expensive dining rooms. Investing in this business model helps to reduce your overall overhead to a minimum requirement to do business.
In some case, a delivery driver is not necessary and utilities like TV and telephone. Therefore, you will improve your business bottom line by doing away with the overhead expenses.
Fewer Staff Members
Labour forms one of the essential factors of production in the restaurant industry. Traditional restaurants require a lot of staff, ranging from food runners, hosts/hostesses, food prep to waiters staff.
A virtual restaurant only needs chefs, cooks and food prep staffs. Therefore, you can save a lot of money associated with organising, maintaining and hiring a staff team.
Simple Testing of New Market
It is not easy testing new market in the food industry especially traditional restaurants. There are a lot of costs and risks involved when testing a new market since it may require a new location.
With a ghost restaurant, you can use a central location to test a new market without the much effort, cost and waste of time required to start a storefront.
Tips for a Successful Virtual Restaurant
Avoid Layout and Equipment Skimping
You should avoid skimping on equipment or layout if you decide to outfit your ghost restaurant. The design and equipment of a restaurant can distinguish between an unhappy and happy team. Professional equipment and a well-designed kitchen will translate to well-prepared food and high-quality services.
Both layout and equipment affect food quality and team productivity hence the main factors that affect your business success.
Kitchen sharing is becoming popular with the increase in the popularity of virtual restaurants. In this technique, several virtual restaurants rent a space in a well-equipped and large kitchen for all their activities.
The two main benefits of kitchen sharing are shared technology cost like inventory tracking and zero equipment, infrastructure and maintenance cost.
Kitchen sharing is the best way of reducing operation and maintenance costs even if you decide later to move your virtual kitchen to its dedicated space.
Considering the increase in online use these days, especially third party home delivery, opening a ghost restaurant poses great success. However, it would be best if you start by knowing the advantages of owning a restaurant to understand what you are up against. You can make your way up to success with a virtual restaurant by starting with kitchen space for rent. With time you can have your own kitchen to facilitate easy delivery and setting up of business systems.