We're experiencing a renaissance in the food and beverage industry, as the traditional restaurant model has been forever changed. Dark kitchens have given restaurateurs, food delivery services, and food entrepreneurs new opportunities to serve customers. Independent cloud kitchens took 60% of the market share in 2020 due to increased online ordering and delivery resulting from the pandemic. Now, with companies like Cloud Kitchens, Reef Technology, Zuul, and Virtual Kitchen Co. raising millions in funding, the race is on to set up more ghost restaurants around the world. And there's no sign of this trend slowing down as Euromonitor predicts this market to hit $1 trillion globally by 2030. As restaurants, ghost kitchen providers, and delivery services continue to evolve with their customers' needs they'll need to invest in appreciable assets like shipping container kitchens to expand their operations.
Dark kitchens, also known as ghost kitchens, cloud kitchens, or virtual kitchens, all describe one concept: remote food preparation, takeout, and delivery without the drawbacks of traditional restaurants. So let's dive into some of the benefits ghost kitchens offer.
Lower Operating Costs
Part of the allure of dark kitchens is that they cut out many of the headaches associated with dine-in restaurants. It's a more affordable option since there are no front-of-the-house employees or dining area to decorate. When compared to a franchise, like McDonald's, which costs between $1 million to $2 million and over a year to launch, cloud kitchens can open in a few weeks for less than $150,000.
Flexibility and Adaptability
By definition, ghost restaurants are mobile kitchens. They don't require a storefront or dining area to operate. Restaurants, cafés, and street food vendors partner with delivery services Doordash, Uber Eats, Deliveroo and others to occupy these production kitchens and serve customers. All without making a huge investment in brick-and-mortar real estate.
Dark kitchens have gained popularity over the past few years because they've allowed businesses to widen their national and international presence quickly. Fast-food chains like Chick-fil-A and Wendy's, among others, have embraced the virtual kitchen model, setting up shop throughout the US and Canada. Fat Brands, Fatburger and Buffalo's Express's parent company, opened a ghost kitchen with Epic Kitchens, adding to their 27 other virtual locations. But it doesn't end there. Nathan's Famous has partnered with REEF Kitchens to open 100 ghost kitchens throughout the US by the end of 2021. All of this growth means the call for quality commercial kitchens will increase as quick-service restaurants (QSRs) and independents look for reliable options as they expand.
Kitchens United, Cloud Kitchens, Kitopi, and Zuul are currently undergoing rapid expansions after experiencing double and triple-digit revenue growth in 2020. Along with several other big players, including Grubhub and Pop Meals, they're working together to launch ghost kitchens across the globe. But as they and other dark kitchen operators strengthen their foothold in the market, they'll need facilities capable of launching and scaling quickly with them. Shipping container kitchens are a flexible, cost-effective investment for dark kitchens since build times and expenses are solidified upfront. This transparency makes it easier to open multiple cloud kitchens concurrently. It's a turn-key solution, which can be deployed in mere weeks as opposed to months.
Minimal On-site Disruption & Code Compliant Units
Since many cloud kitchens operate from warehouses, converting them into code-compliant commercial kitchens is an expensive, disruptive endeavor—one which many commercial property landlords refuse to allow. Shipping container kitchens are self-contained structures and can be placed indoors without requiring any major renovations to an existing building. Each unit adheres to strict IBC standards to comply with state and local building ordinances.
Professional Performance, High-quality Equipment
Those working in mobile kitchens can cook in facilities offering the same quality as professional kitchens—because it's nearly identical. From premium equipment to efficient shipping container kitchen layouts, the space is designed for high-volume service. QSRs and independent ghost kitchens can operate in a durable facility built for performance.
Mobile Units, Flexible Configurations
Modular commercial kitchens are built for mobility. Units can be used in indoor and outdoor locations, including warehouses, parking lots, parcels of land, or connect to existing structures. When it comes time to relocate the unit, these mobile kitchens can be transported via truck, plane, or ship. Private and shared kitchens and those needing a smaller space can benefit from shipping container kitchen designs optimized for efficiency. For those wanting to increase their cooking capacity, each unit can be combined to build a larger footprint.
Whether you want to launch your first ghost restaurant or expand across the country, ContekPro manufactures shipping container kitchens designed for your business. Our units reimagine traditional construction, mixing form, function, and solid engineering to provide the same performance as conventional professional kitchens.
We also produce the following support units made from ISO shipping containers: dry storage, walk-in coolers, restrooms, offices, and break rooms. Our shipping container kitchen floor plans range from 160 to 6000+ square feet with strict adherence to detail, providing an optimal workflow for cloud kitchens of all sizes.
With traditional construction, there are many moving parts between contractors and stakeholders—leaving plenty of opportunities for errors.
Our approach is to make project planning straightforward and systematic, preventing any budget or timeline surprises. We handle the design, engineering, logistics, and installation of the unit. Our kitchens come state-approved, and we provide all required documents for your local building permit so you can open as quickly as possible.
Let us help you launch your next ghost kitchen. Contact us to speak with a team member who can find the best shipping container layout for your needs.