The dark kitchen is making the delivery service take more and more relevance in the logistics sector. This is due to trends such as the fact that receiving the order at home has become the most important factor for 62% of consumers when considering a purchase online, it is even more important than the price factor. And, within the entire range of products available online, the most demanded are those of food (AMVO’s 2020 online sales study). Considering this powerful binomial between delivery and food, a new e-commerce business model has emerged : the dark kitchen.
What is a “dark kitchen”?
A dark kitchen , also known as a ghost kitchen or ghost restaurant , is a business model that is based on the preparation of food exclusively for home sale. In this way, the restaurant under the e-commerce format is dedicated only to preparing and shipping its dishes, completely dispensing with all those resources that conventional restaurants use to provide physical customer service: tables, chairs, waiters, etc. Thus, for the customer, a dark kitchen is just a digital company .
This gastronomic e-commerce system is given through the alliance between a food brand and a dark kitchen company . The latter usually offers its customers kitchen facilities and delivery services. In this sense, dark kitchens can be managed by delivery companies, specialized companies or autonomously by restaurants.
Undoubtedly, thanks to the peculiarities of this business model, the dark kitchen turns out to be a quite interesting disruption as part of the strategies of a logistics company .
4 advantages of a dark kitchen
Using a dark kitchen has many benefits , especially for those food brands that are just starting out.
Among the main advantages of a dark kitchen are the following:
- Reduction of investment costs: costs decrease considerably, since it is not invested in elements such as tables, plates, printed menus, napkins, etc., or a reception place to serve the public.
- Reduction of personnel expenses: by not having a space for direct attention to the public, there are also no expenses related to waiters, receptionists, security, among others.
- Price competitiveness: thanks to the savings in personnel and supplies, the company can lower the cost of its menu, allowing it to be more competitive in the market.
- Competitiveness in the delivery service: by not having to dedicate efforts to the physical service, the company can optimize its logistics to the maximum to make on-time deliveries its main competitive advantage.
Examples of dark kitchens
The dark kitchens are booming, and there are already several countries with this type of sales service to meet the demands of a fairly wide digital market. Some examples of dark kitchen in Latin America are the following:
- Example of dark kitchen in Chile
DKF Gastronomic Hubs is a specialized company, whose function is to rent smart kitchens focused only on delivery. Thus, DKF Gastronomic Hubs offers food brands well-equipped dark kitchen spaces strategically located in Chile , to favor demand and facilitate home deliveries.
- Example of dark kitchen in Mexico
The Dark Kitchens Hub is an organization that offers kitchen spaces prepared to be used as dark kitchens. Its strategic location in Mexico City makes it easier for brands to reach their customers faster through different delivery applications such as UberEats and Postmates, thus strengthening the entire e-commerce ecosystem in Mexico’s logistics .
- Example of dark kitchen in Colombia
Rappi is a delivery service that decided to venture into this e-commerce model. The company had dark kitchens in various parts of Colombia , so that food brands can work in its facilities, and thus Rappi exclusively dispatches its menus.
- Example of dark kitchen in Peru
Nocturnos.pe was one of the first dark kitchens in Peru . Currently, it is an autonomous company that produces a wide variety of dishes in its production plant, making deliveries 24 hours a day. To expand its reach, it partnered with different shipping apps.
What should we learn from a dark kitchen?
Dark kitchens have completely changed the food sales business model . And is that lacking physical customer service, these companies focus all their efforts on offering consumers an exceptional, ultra-fast and comfortable delivery service.
In this sense, considering that the only direct point of contact with the consumer is last-mile delivery , dark kitchens must seek efficient and punctual deliveries . It is these exceptional deliveries that all logistics companies should have as a reference, regardless of the commercial sector.
To achieve this, it is important to have technologies that allow planning delivery routes, communicate with carriers, track transport units in real time during delivery and receive feedback from customers once deliveries are completed.