Ghost Kitchen Food Trucks: What They Are and Why They Matter
Thinking about hiring a ghost kitchen food truck to meet additional demand at your restaurant? Or perhaps you’re an individual who is thinking about opening your own ghost food truck. Either way, there are many benefits of ghost food trucks, and a few drawbacks to keep in mind as well.
Ready to figure out if hiring or opening a ghost food truck is the right choice for you or your restaurant business? Let’s dive into the pros and cons of ghost kitchen food trucks right now!
What is a Ghost Kitchen?
To understand what a ghost food truck is and why hiring or starting one could be a good decision, you should first understand what a ghost kitchen is. Thankfully, we’ve dedicated an entire blog post to that very topic!
As we noted in that post, “A ghost kitchen is a food service business without seating or dining areas that offers delivery and sometimes takeout options. Many ghost kitchens utilize third-party delivery services, such as Uber Eats, to take and deliver food orders. Ghost kitchens are also commonly referred to as cloud kitchens, dark kitchens, or satellite kitchens.”
So what’s a food truck ghost kitchen? Put simply, it’s a ghost kitchen that operates out of a food truck!
Ghost Kitchen vs. Cloud Kitchen vs. Dark Kitchen
Ghost kitchens, dark kitchens, and cloud kitchens…what’s the difference? As Deliverect puts it,
“...there are about 17 different names for the idea. That all means slightly different things to different people. But are used interchangeably. You have dark kitchens, ghost kitchens, and cloud kitchens, not to mention the virtual restaurants that operate within them…”
They go on to say “Whatever you call them, dark kitchens have the same operational processes in common: orders come in, food is prepared, and packaged meals go out to the customer.”
That being said, no matter what your preferred terminology is, ghost kitchens come with a myriad of benefits (and some drawbacks) that are worth knowing about, whether you’re planning to rent a food truck kitchen from someone else or want to start your own. So let’s explore some of these boons and banes now.
Pros of Ghost Kitchen Food Trucks
If you’ve read our blog on ghost kitchens, you already know that compared to standard restaurants with kitchens and seating, ghost kitchens offer:
- Reduced need for kitchen and front-of-house staff
- Fewer startup costs
- Fewer costs associated with changing out menus, which can lead to the ability to do so more often when culinary creativity strikes
Starting a ghost kitchen food truck can be even more freeing, financially and creatively – allowing you to hire fewer staff and focus more on delivering a high-quality menu experience.
Hiring a ghost kitchen or opening a ghost kitchen food truck to expand your takeout or delivery capabilities can also be a smart way to expand your business without the normal costs associated with doing so if you were to, say, open another restaurant location.
Thinking about converting from a full restaurant to a ghost kitchen food truck? Many of the same benefits apply. Just remember that most food trucks don’t have the same space let alone equipment as even a standard ghost kitchen would.
Cons of Ghost Kitchen Food Trucks
The ghost kitchen concept has caught on like wildfire post-covid within the restaurant industry, with tons of ghost kitchen startups doing quite well.
We could name tons of ghost kitchen examples. But perhaps less common is the ghost kitchen food truck. Most restaurants looking to change their business model from a standard in-person one to a ghost kitchen model search for ghost kitchens for rent. But an alternative that can result in even more savings is to open a ghost kitchen food truck!
That being said, some ghost kitchens, or virtual kitchens, are still run out of a commercial kitchen, even if that kitchen is 10x smaller than a standard restaurant kitchen. Food trucks, by contrast, have extremely-limited kitchen space.
Other drawbacks of ghost kitchen food trucks can include:
- High costs of delivery when using delivery apps
- Difficulty in creating a delivery system for online ordering if not using delivery apps
- Difficulty raising sufficient brand awareness without a physical storefront
- Creating a high-quality menu that’s pared down enough for a food truck kitchen
What is a Ghost Franchise?
A ghost kitchen is a kitchen that cooks and delivers food. A ghost kitchen food truck is a food truck that does the same, either as a standalone operation or an extension of an already-existing kitchen. But what is a ghost kitchen franchise? It’s what it sounds like: a franchised ghost kitchen business!
What is a Kitchen As a Service?
Kitchens-as-a-service, are, in the words of this Oracle post, “fully built spaces rented out to a concept for their ghost kitchen duties. They provide a full-service kitchen and delivery model making it easy to launch a delivery restaurant with low risk and low capital.”
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