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Should I open a ghost kitchen or virtual restaurant?

Something that’s on many minds lately is whether to open a ghost kitchen or a virtual restaurant. They both have their advantages, but depending on the type of restaurant you’re running, one might be better than the other. Both will help you capture more sales and attract customers online, but each works differently.

What’s a ghost kitchen?

A ghost restaurant, also known as a cloud kitchen, operates completely online without dining rooms or takeout counters. With no storefront, ghost kitchens essentially serve as large restaurant kitchens to prepare food and sell it online via ordering apps and third-party delivery services.

Pros and cons

The pros

  • Cut operating costs: Because ghost restaurants operate in smaller shared spaces, it eliminates the need to hire front-of-house staff and drastically lowers other overhead costs such as rent.
  • Low-risk option: Ghost restaurants minimize the initial up-front and operating costs which could allow for higher scalability.
  • Streamline operations: Without a store-front, restaurants can free-up time to innovate and focus on creating quality food that’s perfect for delivery.

The cons

  • High third-party fees: It’s isn’t new. Third-party delivery services charge excessive transaction fees per each sale made.
  • Developing your brand: With no store-front, it can be tough to create a strong and credible brand identity.
  • No customer interaction: Being exclusively digital, this makes it more difficult to establish a relationship and retain customers.

What’s a virtual restaurant?

Similar to a ghost kitchen, a virtual restaurant is a new or existing restaurant that uses their kitchen space to support online orders. By setting up a virtual restaurant, restaurants can tap into a new market, boost their sales, and reach more customers.

Pros 

  • Save on third-party delivery fees: While restaurants benefit from food delivery services, the cost of transaction and service fees are usually high. Using a food ordering system like MYR Online will significantly reduce these fees.
  • Customer experience: Setting up an in-house ordering system lets you stay in control of the customer experience and make more profits.

Cons 

  • Managing in-store and online orders: It can be challenging to manage your online and in-store orders. However, MYR Online offers features that allow you to streamline your operations; by grouping all your online orders under one point of sale system that is then sent directly to the kitchen for order processing.
  • Using your own food delivery service: If a third-party delivery service is not an option, you will need to find a company like Chasseurs Courrier or La Roue Libre, or hire your delivery drivers.

A good example of a virtual kitchen is Le Comptoir Sainte-Cecile, a restaurant, and gourmet grocery store, who switched to online ordering in just a few days in response to the covid19 pandemic.

Shortly after launching its app, Le Comptoir Sainte-Cecile saw its sales skyrocket and an increase in customer demands.

Why choose MYR POS for your virtual restaurant

MYR Online is an online ordering system that uses the best technology on the market (PWA – Progressive Web App). The app works with a format that your customers are likely to use without having to download an app for each restaurant, which gives customers the flexibility to order from social media, Google, Yelp, etc. For example, if your customers use Instagram or Facebook, you can easily insert your online app link to your profile.

An online ordering app can also integrate with your website, where people can easily order from the “Order now” button.

Additionally, it removes the barriers of downloading the restaurant app, which can consume a lot of space on mobile phones.

Excellent example of a fast-food restaurant using its own online ordering (also called white-labeled app)

Innovation has a new destination, and it’s called Spice Bros. Opened in 2019, this fast-food restaurant offers Indian cuisine with a modern twist. After a successful year, they have now expanded to 2 more locations using MYR’s multi-location module.

They were also able to quickly make use of their online ordering system to increase their profits. By simply adding the app link to their website, they have been able to overcome the restaurant crisis during the pandemic.

In addition, Spice Bros connects their Uber Eats into their MYR point-of-sale to streamline their operations and make it easy to reconcile their online and in-store sales.

The final verdict?

While cloud kitchens are one of the most profitable markets with minimum risk involved, virtual kitchens on the other hand offer an advantage for an existing and established brand.

To provide a safe experience for staff and customers, restaurants must adjust and reinvent themselves to adapt to the current situation.

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