The Spoon – Guest Post by JustKitchen Strategic Advisor Warren Tseng: As the Ghost Kitchen Industry Matures, Here Are 5 Trends to Watch
The food industry has managed to squeeze about 10 years of innovation into just 18 months thanks to the pandemic. This in turn has given rise to a variety of ghost kitchen models that have allowed restaurants and food brands to increase sales and reduce their operating costs. Now that restaurant operators have seen that online delivery may likely be the bulk of their sales going forward, we will continue to see them double down on delivery and find new ways to become more efficient and technology-driven in terms of menu development, supply chain efficiency, direct-to-consumer distribution solutions, and kitchen automation. Here are five trends that will continue to shape the rapidly evolving ghost kitchen industry beyond the pandemic.
- Leveraging data and AI to inform menu and product development
Data can provide invaluable insight to any customer-facing industry, and ghost kitchens are no exception. Ultimately, data regarding brand preferences, pricing strategy, ingredients, and the popularity of cuisine types in certain regions can inform everything from menu design to marketing strategy for delivery-only food brands. Examining customer ordering data can also inform restaurants where their particular cuisines may fill a gap on a hyper-local basis, and where they might want to offer their products via a ghost kitchen versus a bricks and mortar location.
For example, JustKitchen has partnered with two Michelin-rated restaurants, Orchid by Peng and 3 Coins, to create delivery-only menus. Their brick and mortar locations previously were situated in very high-density areas of Taipei. By partnering with us, they were able to test the demand for their food in other parts of Taiwan without having to invest in real estate first. By examining the customer ordering data on a trial basis, we were able to see that the demand for this fine-dining style of food was very strong throughout areas of Taiwan they previously weren’t serving.
Additionally, brands that are interested in expanding into new countries can use a ghost kitchen to test out the popularity of the food on a trial basis before taking the leap and investing in the additional real estate and marketing that a global expansion normally requires. They can also test menu items on a trial basis and use ordering data to determine whether certain menu items are a fit for a new market — for example, a North American market versus an Asian market — before developing and rolling out a final concept and menu…