The delivery service revolution is having a huge impact on the restaurant industry.
While food delivery isn’t new, breakfast services like Uber Eats and DoorDash have capitalized on what customers want most: convenience. As the restaurant industry continues to evolve, we see the emergence of concepts like dark kitchens to meet demand. Dark kitchens, also known as delivery-only restaurants, ghost or virtual kitchens, describe an industrial kitchen space dedicated solely to preparing food for delivery. According to Forbes, by 2025 the online food delivery industry will reach $200 billion. It is a large majority of the market who prefer to have their meals delivered rather than visiting a traditional sit-down restaurant. This new trend is not just about how restaurants prepare food, but also about their entire logistics supply chain.
When done correctly, dark kitchens allow for greater food production without delivery services being able to interrupt customers’ meals or delay delivery times.
Dark kitchens streamline the cooking process by creating more space for scullery equipment, eliminate distractions, and create noticeably higher meal production, including around-the-clock food preparation. These spaces self-contained eliminate the need for extra perks like parking, sleek furnishings, hip vibes, and popular location. While this new trend can save money, it also creates new challenges, including potential impacts on a restaurant’s supply chain.
Food delivery services are changing the way people enjoy their meals, and while the concept of dark kitchens has been around for a while, if not implemented correctly, a restaurant could lose profits from both. sides, delivery and meals on site. When done correctly, dark kitchens allow for greater food production without delivery services being able to interrupt customers’ meals or delay delivery times.
Companies looking to convert or add this new type of concept to their kitchens need to be prepared. The supply chain process for this type of restaurant is changing dramatically, including the logistics involved in kitchen technology and equipment movement. It is essential to have the support of a supply chain partner specialized in managing this new type of workload.
Hiring a high-quality third-party logistics (3PL) partner can be a game-changer during this type of extreme logistics change. Many restaurants are concerned that some 3PL providers may not be able to meet the challenges of transitioning to a dark kitchen. However, a trusted provider must be flexible and scalable enough to meet the demands of this new market.
3PLs offer more than just advice on logistics; they improve the entire process by providing support from all angles and minimizing any disruption to production. In the event of equipment failure, 3PL offers staged equipment in a nearby warehouse and has the means to have it delivered quickly. Normal carriers can take up to ten days to deliver, which can equate to thousands of dollars in lost profits and unhappy customers. With this shift in the restaurant industry, 3PLs plan to provide more equipment and technology and less furniture.
With the help of the right 3PL, a restaurant should be able to scale this new industry seamlessly. If a 3PL can act more as a project manager, then they can bring more to the table and take more weight off the shoulders of the restaurant manager. If properly implemented, it will have a positive impact on the catering industry on both sides, delivery and onsite catering. Higher delivery demand doesn’t have to translate to slower or less in-house meals with the placement of dark kitchen locations. It’s the best of both worlds and provides the best experience for dine in customers and take out customers.