Know About Delivery-Only Restaurants- Hope Or Hype?
Let’s accept it: All the restaurateurs with entrepreneurial mindset don’t have bundles to spend on setting up the restaurants at prime locations. And, some of them are not interested in raising funds or going into debt. What should the innovative restaurateurs do?
ANSWER: The virtual or delivery-only restaurant model is a viable option for the new restaurants or restaurants looking to expand the services at more locations without spending a lump sum amount.
The virtual restaurant model has gained enough popularity in Chicago, New York, California, and Bay areas. According to research, the global virtual restaurant food delivery sales and the market size expected to grow for the next five years.
Upserve- the restaurant management software experienced a 169% increase in the usage of the platform by the restaurants for online ordering during the first wave of COVID-19. Besides, an 840% increase in weekly sales was observed.
Read more : Why your restaurant need a food delivery app ?
What is a delivery-only restaurant?
The 100% delivery-oriented business referred to as a virtual restaurant, ghost restaurant, ghost kitchen, and cloud kitchen. The food delivers to the customers through virtual means of contact such as phone calls, food mobile application, or websites.
It means there will be no traditional storefront with signage or a dining room. The virtual restaurant business model requires a kitchen (To cook the food), software (Display menu, accept the order and receive payment) and delivery drivers (Deliver the orders on time).
The customers place an order through the application, the staff begin preparing the ordered food as soon as the notification is received, and once, the food is ready, the delivery person starts heading to the desired location. When customers receive the food order, they make a payment, or the prepaid amount gets credited in the restaurant’s account once the transaction is complete.
The benefits of launching a delivery-only restaurant
- It reduces overheads by eliminating the need to create a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
- It’s less risky due to lower upfront investment and reduced expenses.
- Test new markets inexpensively as no time, efforts, and cost associated with storefront establishments.
- Fewer staff members result in diminished costs linked to team hiring, organizing, and maintenance.
- Scaling the restaurant services is feasible with diverse options available and fewer item requirements to create buzz.
- Data-driven insights leveraged to bridge the gap between virtual restaurateurs and customers.
- With online ordering, the generation of the digital world can be adequately served.
How can you start your delivery-only restaurant?
The seven-step process helps you acquire enough share in the market as there is a lot of room to build, grow, and prosper.
Plan deliveries from the get-go
You might be taking delivery optimization as an afterthought but its of prime importance because if the food delivered at the customers’ doorstep is soggy, messy, or cold, then it kills the customer forever. Just the way you keep an eye on the taste, quality, and temperature of food, it’s equally vital to optimize delivery operations.
Fill the void
You need to research the current market, target audience, and their eating preferences. The survey helps you know the demand that’s not fulfilled in the local area and meeting the same food demands in your menu could help you gain the major traction. Eliminating the guessing game helps in getting orders consistently and improved sales and ROI.
Build brand and buzz
Nobody knows your dark kitchen unless you bring it in the limelight through branding. It requires you to build a brand through logo designing, menu creation, and other brand-related assets that tell your restaurant’s unique story and sumptuous meal. You can create a buzz around the brand through social channel integrations to allow the social users to directly connect with the brand.
Set up a commercial kitchen
Legally, you have to adhere to all the food industry-related regulations that apply to restaurants. To set up virtual restaurants, you need a commercial kitchen that can be taken on rent or use the shared-kitchen concept. When you start looking for the kitchen on rent, you will ask for a business license, ServSafe Food Handler Certification, general liability policy, and service plan (monthly-based payment or hourly bookings).
Partner with food delivery service provider
The food delivery optimization is followed by teaming up with national food distributors and suppliers or considering local providers. They help your business achieve goals by accomplishing this critical service. Also, they help in improving the restaurant visibility through banner ads or displaying the restaurant at the top of search ranking results. However, the services take a cut of 30% as commission, but it’s worth the time and money saved for increasing customer outreach.
Launch and iterate
Before your business starts offering the services directly to the customers, it’s better to do testing where the food quality and taste are checked when they are delivered in a take-out container. After the restaurant launch, keep a quality control person that checks everything right from food taste to other supplies like- sides, drinks, napkins, desserts, and more.
There are no signage, boards, or brick-and-mortar store that customers can accidentally drive by and see your virtual restaurants. 40% of orders placed online, which means building a strong social presence help you earn new and loyal customers.
It starts with uploading the best cuisines with alluring images that let hunger pangs. Be consistent in working hours so that customers know when your business can meet the orders. Leverage social power to spread word of mouth and make the restaurant’s food viral. Make the first experience memorable by delivering fun collectibles or a handwritten note along with food order. Build rapport and community with high responsiveness. Listen to customers to bridge the gap and make your restaurant the top choice of customers.
Tips that help you run the virtual restaurants like a pro
- Kitchen sharing is a good practice of getting a kitchen without investing a penny in equipment, maintenance, and infrastructure. It’s a cost-effective option to share the technology cost as well.
- Make sure the kitchen has all the professional equipment to let the team happily prepare the food that results in improved productivity and food quality.
- Don’t keep the practice of charging zero bucks on deliveries because, at the end, it hurts your bottom line.
- Centralized workforce management is all-important to keep everyone on the task and deliver the food on time.
- Don’t skip marketing to get your virtual restaurant name out there and make it live in the customer’s mind.
Planning to start your delivery-only restaurant? Congrats! You are on the track that’s as fresh as your cuisines. The industry trends, market conditions, and customer preferences are leaning towards virtual restaurants. What’s more? The lower overheads, reduced expenses, and improved ROI are the added advantages that keep your business skyrocketing. All the best!