A virtual restaurant is one that offers delivery-only services with no sit-in option, and orders are made online.
This type of food establishments is quickly gaining popularity, especially with the ongoing lockdown and travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has hit global markets.
Virtual restaurants also referred to as ghost restaurants or cloud kitchens, are made possible due to consumers’ growing need for tasty, convenient meals, tech-enabled ordering applications, and access to rentable commercial kitchen spaces that can be hired at hourly rates.
Economy workers willing to work for short-term gigs and third-party delivery companies are also accessible.
All these elements combined make it possible for a food entrepreneur to start a virtual restaurant with significantly fewer resources and overheads, without the brick-and-mortar setup.
Advantages of running a virtual restaurant
If you are a budding food entrepreneur, there are several advantages to running a virtual restaurant. Here are a few of them:
Costs that would otherwise be used to pay rent for dining space in a location with foot movement can be used to hire a commercial kitchen and allow focus on the core business, food production.
Also, the purchase of expensive, latest edition equipment is eliminated as these come as part of the commercial kitchen package.
A virtual restaurant is also less capital-intensive to launch with better testing opportunities and flexibility options. There are also fewer turnover risks for hired wait staff.
Suppose a menu isn't very popular, or a particular ingredient isn't available. In that case, you can play around with new recipes and swap with more favourable options to your client base without dire consequences.
In fact, with a virtual restaurant, your customers will most likely appreciate the change and variety of options on your menu.
Operations of a virtual restaurant
Starting a virtual restaurant requires you to have a well-detailed website with visual aids that will attract your potential customers to place orders with you.
The process starts when customers visit your website, view the available menus, then place their orders through online platforms.
The commercial kitchen then prepares the order for, in most cases, a third-party food delivery service to deliver the meal to the customer.
In some cases, the food establishment may have its own delivery network in place and may choose to perform this service on its own.
The set up costs and management of these operations should be a lot more straightforward than setting up an entire restaurant from scratch.
Hire of commercial kitchens
A commercial kitchen is a shared space that is commercially licensed and put to use by caterers, chefs, bakers, food trucks, and other culinary specialists.
There are options to become a member, or you can rent space alongside your competitors, other food entrepreneurs. Don’t see them just as your competitors though - help each other grow and network!
Finding a working space has been simplified, you will better understand that if you click here. The beauty of hiring a commercial kitchen is that it is less costly in terms of setup, purchasing and maintenance of expensive equipment like cold storage, ovens, cookers, and cooking supplies.
All these costs are eliminated from your budget.
Also, when you hire a commercial kitchen, there's no limit to the amount of food you can supply. Whether it's home delivery or wedding catering, it is all possible as there is no limitation of space, location, distractions and outdated equipment.
Incidentally, a commercial kitchen also makes it possible for you to carry out a food tasting panel on the premises, saving you both time and money.
A considerable number of costs are eliminated when you hire a commercial kitchen. Costs like contractors costs, electricity and water bills, sewage and pest control, building codes requirements, and so much more, making it flawless to stay compliant.
These costs become somebody else's headache, and you are better able to focus on food production, menu creation, and customer identification and retention. When you hire a commercial kitchen, you also reduce the challenge of having underutilised space.
Starting a virtual restaurant could be about the best thing you engage in this year, 2020, as they are first becoming a staple in most major cities and will gradually increase across countries.
According to https://thebalancesmb.com, investment bank UBS forecasts that food delivery sales will grow annually by about 20% by 2030. That's from the current $35 billion to $365 billion worldwide.
A considerable number of businesses are now investing heavily in the concept of virtual restaurants and the technology that makes them possible.
If you are a budding food entrepreneur, then now could be the perfect time to start your own virtual restaurant for success.
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