Flexibility Built-in: Change with your Customers’ Needs with Delivery Kitchens
Equipping your commercial kitchen is a tough ask for hospitality professionals. You face high costs if you buy outright, if you aren’t sure about your supplier there can be concerns about reliability when buying second-hand, and, perhaps most importantly, you can be left with the setup you choose when first setting up the business, which can mean you don’t have the right set up to respond to customer demands.
Running a virtual brand from a delivery-only or dark kitchen demands flexibility – and fast. So how can hospitality entrepreneurs get the flexibility they need to ensure their business can keep up with customer demand? Here’s how:
A delivery-only kitchen is your blank canvas
Many ghost kitchens offer basic equipment that can be augmented with specialist equipment depending on your menu.
Most of these kitchens contain tables for prep, refrigeration, storage, and extraction (a vital and often overlooked part of any commercial kitchen’s infrastructure) leaving you to fill in the blanks with the equipment you need.
This requires a deep understanding of the menu you will be providing for customers – but how can you get that understanding before taking your offer to market? This means that equipping your kitchen must be inherently flexible and ready for change at the drop of a hat. When you are listening and responding to customers, the key is to act fast.
Swapping equipment gives the best return
Several kitchen providers offer the chance to swap in and swap out equipment as needed, depending on your customers’ preferences. Delivery-only kitchens, thanks to the vast amount of customer data you can gather from the apps your brand is on, allow you to focus on, and change your menu to provide customers only with what they want, and at speed.
This flexibility can boost your business, especially as you scale – different levels of production require different types of equipment.
For example, if you find the one type of pizza you had on the menu is outselling every other menu item by 10-1? That indicates your brand is becoming known for pizzas and you should be expanding their availability. But if you only had the one menu item for pizza, you might only have a single deck oven, or a rapid cooker in your kitchen setup. With the right supplier, you can swap out the single deck or rapid cooker and put in a conveyor oven instead, to boost your productivity ten-fold.
The same goes for fried food – if you had a single countertop fryer but were receiving multiple requests for chips to go with your food, then a freestanding fryer might be more appropriate for the demand your business is facing.
Add new concepts easily!
The other advantage to the flexibility of many delivery kitchen setups is the ability to react to the market with new concepts. If you plan a smooth production process, there’s no reason why you can’t have separate concepts being served out of the same kitchen. In fact, this is one of the major advantages of a delivery-only model: you can launch and grow multiple concepts simultaneously without impacting your productivity unduly.
But this presents equipment challenges, as you will need to use your limited space effectively, either with multi-function equipment, or a very well-designed production run to avoid creating a production snarl-up.
This means you need to be ready to change your setup to fit how your menus are performing – and may need to create a specialist space for one or more of your concepts to handle demand efficiently.
With delivery-only kitchens this is much simpler than with traditional systems or buying methods: you can simply take more space or use larger multipurpose equipment to help you meet production demands.
For example, using a multi-cooker, which can fry, boil, pressure cook and more at scale, you can prepare more types of food ahead of time to boost production, for example, and not let your menu creativity be bound by the limitations of your equipment.
The right equipment is both crucial to a successful delivery-only kitchen, but also subject to change, sometimes rapid change.
Look for the right offer that allows this kind of changing in and out of equipment, or be ready to design a creative production line that can incorporate numerous preparation styles.