How to Start a Ghost Kitchen

August 22, 2023 — Cloudwaitress

You’re not alone if you’ve ever wondered how to start a ghost kitchen. The concept of ghost kitchens has transformed the culinary landscape, offering a unique solution to the changing dynamics of food service.

To start a ghost kitchen, you’ll need to choose a good spot and make a menu for delivery. Use technology to help with orders and pick the best dishes.

Also, be active online to get more customers, especially on social media. When you think about how to start a ghost kitchen, it’s a mix of using the right tools and connecting with people.

In this article, we’ll explore how to open a ghost kitchen so you’re fully prepared for this innovative venture.

What is a ghost kitchen?

A ghost kitchen, also known as a cloud kitchen, is designed primarily for preparing food for delivery. It’s different from regular restaurants as it doesn’t have a physical space for dining in or a public-facing counter for pickups.

Instead, it operates in the background, focusing solely on fulfilling online orders. These orders can be made through various platforms or a direct channel like CloudWaitress.

Ghost kitchens are particularly useful for those wanting to serve food without the expenses and complexities of running a full-scale restaurant.

Types of ghost kitchens

Ghost kitchens have become popular, primarily serving the delivery market. They exist in several forms, each catering to different needs. Before we move on to how to start a ghost kitchen, here are some types of these kitchens.

  • Single-Brand Kitchens: These kitchens serve one restaurant or brand. Essentially, they handle one specific menu, much like a traditional restaurant but without seating for guests.
  • Multi-Brand Kitchens: One kitchen space is used for multiple brands or types of food. While they offer diverse cuisines, the backend operations are streamlined under one management.
  • Incubator Kitchens: Aimed at budding chefs or culinary start-ups, these kitchens let individuals experiment with new food concepts. It’s a space to refine and assess new dishes without a big financial commitment.
  • Kitchen Pods: These movable, compact kitchens can be set up in places like parking areas. Their mobility allows businesses to shift as required, serving various locations.
  • Virtual Brands: These are more about branding than a physical space. Existing restaurants use their kitchens to introduce a new, delivery-focused brand. It lets them reach new customers without expanding their physical footprint.
How to Start a Ghost Kitchen - cloudwaitress

How to start a ghost kitchen

Selecting an appropriate business model is crucial if you’re thinking about how to start a ghost kitchen. Regardless of the specific ghost kitchen type you aim for, here are the initial steps to guide you.

1. Choosing your location

The ghost kitchen model offers a distinct advantage: investing heavily in premium high-street locations is unnecessary.

You can pinpoint a location that matches demand by analyzing ordering data from delivery apps and search patterns. Still, essentials such as cleanliness, water access, and electricity should be at the forefront of your location considerations.

2. Finding a unique niche

Given your knowledge of the area’s demand, it’s possible to identify market opportunities. Consider introducing a new concept or improving on an existing popular choice.

You can do this by either blending various cuisines or presenting a well-liked dish with a fresh perspective.

3. Planning your kitchen’s layout

Choosing a specific type of food and business plan shapes how you set up your space. The whole area is mainly for making and sending food in a ghost kitchen. This means there’s no need for a dining area or a bar.

Your main goal is to have a smooth process from cooking to packing and handing off orders. Plus, you won’t need to think about decorating or having bathrooms for customers.

4. Handling the paperwork

Before starting operations, a health inspection is required. It’s essential to outline the proper food storage, preparation, and cooking methods.

Other necessary documentation includes monitoring fridge temperatures and implementing pest management measures. Additionally, obtaining a food safety license is a must.


5. Choosing your delivery partners & online ordering system

If you handle your deliveries, you manage everything and have more tasks. This might save you some money. For those seeking a straightforward platform to register their restaurants and manage deliveries, CloudWaitress is a good option.

On the other hand, with third parties, it’s simpler to get started, and they can handle many orders, especially during busy hours. You might want to work with multiple delivery services to make the most money when it gets really busy.

Cloudwaitress is the ideal way to handle your digital restaurant operations all from one platform. With Cloudwaitress you can accept and manage orders from your website and app. Plus you get free delivery from Uber Eats and other perks like PayPal and Stripe integration.

6. Staffing your ghost kitchen

You might spend less on staff with a cloud kitchen than in a regular restaurant. However, hiring people still costs money. You’ll need a good kitchen team and maybe someone to check the quality of the food.

Writing clear job roles, picking the right people, and treating them well can help you build a team that sticks around.

7. Buying equipment and raw materials

You’ll need the right tools and ingredients to run your business well. This means getting things like commercial kitchen equipment, food storage containers, refrigerators, microwaves, and other essentials for prepping meals.

It’s also good to get the best ingredients from sellers you can trust. If you can, try buying things in bulk to save money.

8. Optimizing the menu

Your menu’s look and what’s on it are essential for choosing where to order online. It needs to be clear, appealing and made for delivery. So, pick dishes that won’t spoil during delivery.

Look at what dishes people order the most, which bring in good money, and which are fast to make. After figuring out the top-performing dishes, arrange your kitchen to make these meals smoothly. Keep an eye on how things go and tweak your menu and prices to get the best results.

9. Equip your ghost kitchen with technology

Ghost kitchens use a lot of tech, like ordering systems, payment tools, kitchen display setups, and delivery software.

It’s like having a smooth path in the kitchen; all these tech tools must work well together. They should share info and give precise data for you to review.

10. Optimize the kitchen for better efficiency

Once your cloud kitchen starts, check how your setup and tech choices play out. A sound tech system helps a lot here. It lets you look at order details to improve things and pick the best food items to offer.

As your kitchen gets busier, you can change your menu prices and dishes based on what people order. Standardizing how you make dishes can help you save money and not waste food. Plus, keeping track of your food stock means less goes to waste.

Cloudwaitress makes it super easy to optimize your menu and get the word out about your restaurant. When you sign up you get a free website and QR codes generated to help customers find your menu.

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11. Marketing your ghost kitchen

You must be active online to spread the word about your ghost kitchen. This involves having a noticeable online presence on your website, delivery sites, review platforms, and social media. Stay active on social sites like Facebook, Instagram, and even TikTok if you can.

Chat with people and make a group of loyal followers. And always check and reply to comments or reviews people leave online, whether good or bad.

Final thoughts on how to start a ghost kitchen

Starting a ghost kitchen is a journey that blends technology, community engagement, and operational efficiency. It’s not just about setting up space; it’s about designing a menu suitable for delivery and having a presence online to connect with a broader audience.

When looking into how to start a ghost kitchen, remember that a blend of effective tactics and technology will steer you toward achieving success.

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Are ghost kitchens profitable?

Ghost kitchens can be profitable. They often have lower overhead costs than traditional restaurants since they don't require dining space. However, profitability depends on factors like location, operational efficiency, and market demand.

What's the difference between a ghost kitchen and delivery at a brick-and-mortar?

A ghost kitchen is a space solely for preparing food for delivery, with no dine-in option. Delivery at a brick-and-mortar involves sending out food from a traditional restaurant serving in-person customers.

Do I need a license to sell food in Canada through a ghost kitchen?

You need a food safety license in Canada to sell food through a ghost kitchen. It ensures that food is prepared and stored following health and safety standards.