ghost kitchen calgary

Ghost Kitchen Calgary

Ghost Kitchen Calgary

Have you ever heard of a ghost kitchen? Are you curious to learn more? Read on to learn what a ghost kitchen is and how you can establish one for yourself.

What is a Ghost Kitchen Concept?

Ghost kitchens are sometimes referred to as dark kitchens as well. The amount of ghost kitchens is rapidly rising in locations all over the globe, especially in larger cities with a bigger population to cater– and deliver– to.

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Ghost Kitchens

The term “ghost kitchen” is not always common knowledge. In fact, it has nothing to do with ghosts or hauntings. A ghost kitchen is a food prep operation, such as a restaurant or kitchen, that functions without a dine-in option. There is no physical presence, so no waiters, dining room, or sit-down customers.

What to Expect From a Ghost Kitchen

Ghost kitchens provide kitchen access, of course, to chefs and restaurants. The kitchen is typically equipped with basic cooking equipment and can be customized further. Many ghost kitchens also come with fulfillment and logistics services, which is beneficial because it allows the eatery to focus on only cooking and preparing orders.

What is the Point of Ghost Kitchens?

Now that you know what a ghost kitchen is, you are surely wondering why some would prefer to operate one, rather than operate out of a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Read on to discover why so many are shifting to– or starting out from– ghost kitchens.

Off-Site Consumption

Ghost kitchens are primarily meant as physical spaces where it is possible for chefs to prepare food for off-site consumption. This can be used for catering, for example– or, overwhelmingly, for food delivery apps such as Grubhub or Doordash. On these apps, it is not easy to discern which options are operating out of ghost kitchens and which are full-service restaurants.

Ghost kitchens that service several restaurants, instead of just one, are now becoming more prominent. Many eateries or brands work out of this same space to cook and then sell their products. Often, these ghost kitchens are located in areas on the edge of the city or in industrial parks. Since there is no physical presence and dine-in eating, they are able to save money on rent because the location is not so important.

Why Do Ghost Kitchens Matter?

The recent rise of ghost kitchens was jump-started by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many areas required that restaurants close their dining areas to stop the spread of disease, so in order to stay afloat, many eateries pivoted to takeout and delivery. 

Ghost kitchens are also a great way for smaller restaurants and food operations to get their foot in the door. It allows these businesses to get their food in front of customers and sell without having a physical storefront. This lack of a physical storefront allows them to save money that would otherwise be spent on rent for prime restaurant real estate. They also allow for brands to test out new menu options under different names to see what is working and what will not, similar to how an author might write under a pen name.

How to Start a Ghost Kitchen in Calgary

Some of the factors that are considered when establishing a dine-in restaurant differ from what is important when starting a food delivery operation such as a ghost kitchen. Planning, preparation, and proper research are all key in setting up a successful ghost kitchen in Calgary.

Plan

As with any business venture, you will want to have a strong concept. This is important for both brick and mortar and digital food delivery brands. First, identify your niche and find the gap in the market that you are looking to fill. Is there a specific demographic you’d like to target for delivery, such as students or those with special diets? What cuisine will you be serving? Put together a strong, pared-down menu that you’re confident about serving.

When you’re planning your brand and your menu, you will also want to plan to optimize your offerings for delivery. Food quality truly hinges on factors such as time and temperature, so how to achieve the best temperature from the kitchen to the customer’s location should be a consideration. Naturally, food that arrives soggy or cold will put off customers from ordering from you again. 

Find a Commercial Kitchen

To legally sell food, you must prepare it in a licensed commercial kitchen. You will want to either locate a space that is already set up as a commercial kitchen to rent, or you can find your own space and convert it to a commercial kitchen. Converting a space to a commercial kitchen is certainly more of an investment, both financially and monetarily. Once you find a space, you will want to find a contractor you trust to discuss your ideas and whether they are achievable for the space. Someone who is experienced in commercial renovations will be best suited for this sort of project. 

If you decide to go the route of renting space in an existing ghost kitchen, you will want to apply to the space. However, before that, you will want to be sure to ask any questions you may have to determine if this particular space is the best fit for your brand. Once you have found the perfect space, you will likely have to put down a deposit to access the ghost kitchen’s amenities and services. Finding out details such as off and on peak rates can help you to save some money, as long as it also benefits your brand and customer base.

Service Providers

Since this is a food delivery-based business, you will want to do your research to choose the best service provider for your kitchen. You’ll need to find vendors for your ingredients, but also a delivery service such as DoorDash or Grubhub. Take into account details such as fees and whether they will deliver to your area.

Health Inspection

Before you are able to open up shop and start selling, you will need to apply for a health inspection. Most health departments will require that they visit you in your space. You will want to be prepared to walk them through your processes, menu, and what service provider you are using.

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