When the pandemic started, many restaurants saw sales declining that forced them to close due to the lack of revenues. While dine-in restaurants closed, ghost kitchens started to become popular. Ghost kitchens are spaces where restaurants can make food for delivery services.
Restaurants using ghost kitchens did not open a dine-in area and only maintained a kitchen. They offered their products through delivery apps. Even though restaurants did not maintain a physical store, they appeared similar to restaurants with dine-in areas in these delivery apps.
The arrangement allowed restaurants to reduce operating expenses while offering food in the market. Ghost kitchens also allow small food establishments to start offering their products before they open a physical store.
Even as ghost kitchens offer a huge potential for restaurants, they also need to reduce their expenses to survive during the pandemic. Here are some ways for ghost kitchens to reduce their expenses in the middle of a health crisis.
Create a Suitable Pricing Strategy
Opening a ghost kitchen can reduce the cost of running a restaurant, but operators should still consider other expenses aside from running a dining area. The menu prices should consider the cost of packaging and utensils that they send together with the food.
When the restaurant is still starting, they should use simple packaging with their band on it. After the brand gains popularity in the market, they should consider using better materials for the packaging to ensure food quality as deliveries will likely cover areas far from the kitchen.
Another expense that restaurants should take into account is the use of third-party delivery services. Even if the restaurant offers pickup options, they should incorporate the cost of using these delivery services in the menu prices. This allows the restaurant to ensure that it can save money even as it is already using a ghost kitchen.
Invest in Reliable Equipment
Running a ghost kitchen requires the restaurant to have all the necessary equipment to make the food on its menu. While the initial investment is significant, restaurants that already have a kitchen can convert their physical store into a ghost kitchen and close their dining area to cut costs.
On the other hand, new businesses should start from scratch and invest in quality kitchen tools and equipment. These tools and equipment include commercial ovens that can handle different types of cooking, including steam and convection cooking.
They can also buy cooking stations that incorporate a burner, fryer, and oven in a single station. These tools give the ghost kitchen the versatility it needs to produce different types of food. A commercial refrigerator is also essential for the ghost kitchen to have a place to store perishable ingredients.
Ghost kitchen owners can also invest in reliable commercial meat-processing equipment so they can process meat on site. The tools facilitate the creation of the signature meat dishes of the kitchen since they can create sausages, hamburger patties, and different mixed meat combinations. With these tools, the kitchen owners do not need to buy different types and cuts of meat since they can process the meat onsite.
Automate Whenever Possible
Technology helped a lot of industries during the pandemic. Aside from helping stores connect with their customers online, technology also facilitated the automation of repetitive tasks and enhanced productivity. Ghost kitchens can also use technology to automate processes to improve productivity among their employees.
Among the tasks that a ghost kitchen can automate are food cost calculation, invoicing, purchasing, and inventory-taking. Ghost kitchens that offer takeout services can install a conveyor belt to bring the food takeout window. This also reduces direct interaction between the customers and employees of the kitchen, which is important during the pandemic.
Reduce Food Waste
A good way to reduce expenses in a ghost kitchen is to reduce food waste. Managing food waste requires employees to understand the importance of avoiding food waste for a business. The ghost kitchen should make sure all its employees receive proper training and are well-versed with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of the kitchen.
To demonstrate the importance of avoiding food waste, the employees should also record all food wasted throughout the week. After recording the amount of food wasted for the week, they are placed inside bin bags and stored inside a refrigerator.
At the end of the week, the ghost kitchen owners should show the employees the amount of food wasted throughout the week. The employees should also aim to reduce the number of bags stored in the fridge each week by reducing overproduction and ensuring every ingredient is used properly.
Even as ghost kitchens allow restaurants to save money on expenses, they can increase their savings by implementing money-saving measures in their ghost kitchens.