Should I Open a Ghost Kitchen?

Why should you consider opening a Ghost Kitchen right now? It’s simple: because people are reliant on carry-out, which means they are constantly searching the Internet for the next place they want to try. And they are using different search terms these days as well. Is your restaurant set up to intercept their search traffic?



Welcome to another episode of Should I Open Up a Ghost Kitchen? [cue Jeopardy music] For $1000 the answer is…YES, you should! The question is: Should I open up a ghost kitchen selling food that is different from what I’m currently selling in my restaurant? For $4000 the answer is…YES you should! The question is: Should you open up a ghost kitchen selling food that’s already on your menu in your own kitchen or in someone else’s kitchen? 

I think you’re getting the point the answer is: YES!

I don’t know specifically what the right answer is for you, but I know there isn’t a restaurant in the world that should not have a ghost kitchen operating within their restaurants. Unless you are so busy that you have no room for more cooks or food production and you are cranking it out 7 days a week at all meal periods, then maybe this is not the right thing for you. But you know what, if you want to open up a ghost kitchen that only serves food Tuesday through Friday then go ahead and do that! You can shut it down on the other days that are busier. 

Open up a Ghost Kitchen 

This is not a video about what they are— you can watch last week’s video that explains in a lot more detail what they are. In this video, I want to address the “Why” and the “Why now?” 

1)Should I open up a ghost kitchen that’s a different concept than what I currently serve?
Yes, you can definitely open up a concept that’s different. In the previous video, I told you about my client who has an Egyptian restaurant. He is operating a very successful Italian pasta concept and a Nashville-style fried chicken concept out of his Egyptian brick and mortar restaurant. 

2.) I get totally different concepts, but what about similar concepts?
Yes, this is perfectly fine! Let’s say you sell burgers, hotdogs, pizza and wings on your menu right now – a pretty generic American sports bar type menu. Should you open up a concept that sells just wings or just burgers? Absolutely! I work with a pizza client that has a pretty wide menu with all the hamburgers, hotdogs, wings and pizzas. He is near Michigan so he also had poutine. We opened up 3 ghost concepts: a poutine only concept, a wings only concept, and hotdog concept—all of them did well. This is all in addition to his other regular restaurant as well. 

The reason we did that is people are searching for things on the internet differently today. For example, sometimes people are searching for the best hot dog in the city. In this case, his hotdog concept would come up top of list but his restaurant wouldn’t even though it had hotdogs. Also, people have a lot of confidence in restaurants that only do one thing. A restaurant that only serves poutine means that the expectations for that poutine is going to be pretty good. 

You can even open up your current concepts, let’s say that you’re an hour or 45 minutes out from a certain part of Los Angeles and you have a pretty good restaurant. There are ghost or virtual kitchens that you could go into, pay rent, and open up your concept in their facility. All you need to do is train a couple of cooks to handle it now. There are some negatives to this model, but there are also a lot of positives in that you can duplicate your concept pretty quickly. If it does well in LA then CloudKitchens or Kitchen United who have 6-8 locations across the country can open it up in a different part of LA, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Austin or wherever it is. All these big cities are opening up these cloud kitchen facilities so you can get into another concept very inexpensively. I am actually looking at doing that with both of the people I just spoke about with my clients.

Or you can expand into someone else’s restaurant. Maybe you have a friend, partner, or family member in another city that has a restaurant. Set up your cloud kitchen in theirs and work out some kind of a licensing or franchise deal. There are so many specifics to talk about here that it’s hard to get into it all on one video.But, if this is a topic that you’re interested in we’ve put together a training called the Ghost Kitchen Bootcamp that you should check out!

Final words:

The answer is you should be absolutely and seriously considering opening up a ghost kitchen/virtual kitchen/cloud kitchen/dark kitchen whatever it is that you want to call it. I like the term ghost because I think it’s fun, cheeky and it tells the story and it makes people curious. There are so many details that I am going to share with you in our Ghost Kitchen Bootcamp. Please check that out. If it’s the right thing for you, awesome, you’ll be able to watch that training instantly. If it’s not the right thing for you, no big deal. 

I just want to quickly remind all of you of one thing: systems create freedom, freedom creates value, and value is what allows you to SCALE. I hope you have an absolutely amazing day and I love every single one of you crazy restaurant people.


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