The rise of on-demand food delivery is driving a sea change in the global food and drink industry. Ghost kitchens represent an important component of this process. As freshly prepared meals and snacks become a larger part of our lives, more production will move “into the cloud,” with a growing separation between production sites, points of sale, and consumer interaction.
Ghost kitchens and virtual restaurants both represent adaptations to booming delivery demand, one from the production side, the other branding. Both will continue to expand as more operators look to adapt their operations.
No longer an incremental add-on to dine-in traffic, delivery and online ordering are becoming basic expectations for consumers. going forward, successful restaurants must plan their entire operations (packaging, kitchens, site selection) with delivery built in.
By potentially “rationalising” production for delivery, ghost kitchens could drive a process of scaling which could result in drastically lower prices for prepared, delivered food. Carried forward, this could drive a host of daily eating occasions towards restaurants in general and delivery aggregators more specifically.
A more delivery-centric food environment defined by prepared food on demand could further blur the lines between retail and foodservice, as more and more of the food and drink industry’s production chain moves towards a model of fresh, relatively local food prepared on demand.
Akin to the rise of fashion retailers such as Primark, Zara and H&M, widespread adoption of ghost kitchens could usher in a new era for the global restaurant industry, one where flavour and product trends move from relatively high-end restaurants to more mainstream operators and channels than ever before.
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