Will the QSR Ghost Kitchen Concept Continue to Grow in 2022?

OneDataSource Blog Post Brand Mark

The OneDataSource Editorial Team

The loss of in-person dining and boom in delivery has led to one of the biggest trends predicted to last – the ghost kitchen. Also known as dark kitchens or commissary kitchens, they’re designed to fill delivery and pickup orders without a dining room.
QSR Ghost Kitchens Operating Model

Since the start of 2020, QSR brands have considered innovative approaches to the standard operating model in order to drive sales.

As you would expect, there are several benefits.

  • Labor costs are lower with no front-of-house staff required.
  • They are much less expensive and faster to open. Prime real estate isn’t a worry and investing in a larger site with seating isn’t necessary. At the same time, quick-service restaurants don’t have to invest in reconfiguring operations and physical space at existing individual locations.
  • It allows operators to expand their customer reach or test new markets without additional investment requirements.

Plus, with the expansion of third-party platforms, social media, and review sites, it’s easier for customers to find brands and restaurants than ever before.

But what else is there to know about delivery-only concepts?

Speeding up operations means better customer service. By being able to quickly gather data down to the store level, owners, operators, and managers can make better business decisions.

The concept of ghost kitchens speaks to the innovation going on in an industry primed for it.

The thing is, there are a lot of different concepts to the ghost kitchen. Moreover, it’s still relatively new and nontraditional, making it hard to know what approach will serve the best revenue outlook for the long term.

For example, Applebee’s launched its virtual brand Cosmic Wings, using existing infrastructure to operate. Another big brand to take a step into this arena is Wendy’s. They recently announced a plan to expand their number of delivery-only kitchens via a partnership with ghost/mobile kitchen provider Reef. Operating out of mobile trailers means even less development time needed as the trailers are highly portable, offering the ability to move where demand is.13

That’s opposed to the dark kitchen concept launched by Postmates, where they tackle hiring employees, managing inventory from the brand’s suppliers, and operating the business and kitchen. Yet another concept is CloudKitchens, subleasing delivery-only kitchens through monthly memberships, among others.

But the point is clear. For those looking for a lucrative way to deliver more food, ghost kitchens provide that avenue. However, how to best expand into delivery-only food services remains to be seen.

Faced with a global pandemic, rising food costs, higher labor costs alongside labor shortages, and stress of the supply chain, QSR operators found ways to pivot.

In our 5 QSR Trends to Watch in 2022 Report, we explore how you can navigate those trends to deliver sales growth and improve your bottom line next year.

Get the report today!

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