Ghost kitchens, also known as dark kitchens, are commercial kitchens that have been optimized for food delivery services. These kitchens are located in areas with a high concentration of delivery demand and don't have storefronts. Instead, the staff prepares dishes from their menus that are only available for home delivery. It's like a virtual restaurant that works like a digital store, with some members of the company's staff working on fulfilling online orders.
A ghost kitchen and a kitchen in the cloud are similar concepts, and both terms are used interchangeably to describe a kitchen that prepares meals for home delivery only. Ghost kitchens come in all shapes and sizes, and some spaces are shared while others are used by a single restaurant brand. For example, Greenspan has created his own brands of ghost kitchens with several kitchen styles made with the same basic supplies, all in one place. The Local Culinary is another example of a ghost kitchen, offering space only to virtual brands developed in-house.
Ghost kitchens can operate from existing restaurant brands or operate as standalone facilities. To start with a ghost kitchen or a virtual kitchen, you'll need to rent space in a facility where you can prepare orders at home. Ghost kitchens offer endless possibilities in terms of what you can do to launch new brands or manage several virtual restaurants in one place, since your presence is online. It's not a holographic, animated, or any other digital “meal”; it's a kitchen that works much like a ghost kitchen, with one exception.
If you manage to successfully launch a virtual brand from your own kitchen, then a ghost kitchen could be a good step in expanding your store presence. Even before the pandemic, ghost kitchens were opening in response to growing consumer demand for meals delivered to restaurants. This type of ghost kitchen is ideal for adding a new source of income and experimenting with new dishes at the local market. Many traditional restaurant owners are starting to manage a ghost kitchen to complement their main establishment.
However, keep in mind that opening a ghost kitchen or virtual restaurant requires a lot of initiative and research on your part.