Ghost kitchens come in all sizes, from single-operator to multi-kitchen restaurant cooperatives. The common ingredient is off-premise delivery or takeout service. One Florida restaurant is testing the waters with a low-cost solution run through a third-party delivery service.
The Daily Creative Food Co. in Miami has created a small vegetarian and vegan concept available only to customers ordering through UberEats. Owner Adam Meltzer sees it as a ghost menu that operates in the kitchen of his fast-casual eatery.
The result is an evolving LTO menu that, if successful, can be expanded into an in-house vegetarian menu section.
“We made our decision based on statistics that Uber and Gordon Food Service had shown us. There seems to be a desire for vegetarian restaurants within our area,” Meltzer says. “It’s kind of testing the waters for us.”
The program has been running for two months, and order revenue has been enough to cover the costs charged by the integration company that links the menu to the restaurant’s kitchen.
Meltzer wants to do better, however, and is reviewing whether it’s a lack of promotions (spend $25 and get $5 off) or the location of his menu on the UberEats platform. He already benefits from using the BYOC—Bring Your Own Courier—program, using in-house delivery drivers to reduce the percentage paid to Uber.
Utilizing third-party delivery services allows operators to try things that were impossible just a few years ago. Meltzer had no expectations about how vegetarian sales would go, but he’s intrigued by the idea of a ghost kitchen and using a sample menu.
“There really was almost no upfront cost. We created the menu out by cross-utilizing ingredients we were using in the restaurant,” he says. “The only investment was with our integration company, and the payoff is the excitement of seeing what kind of sales we are generating.”
The ghost kitchen concept takes many forms, from a remote kitchen to a virtual menu. Operators curious about the possibilities should contact their Gordon Food Service Sales Representative for more information.