The concept of ghost kitchens is one that has been rapidly growing due to the pandemic, but what if an online only food provider existed that did not need to build a new kitchen and hire new staff? With their hybrid model, Nextbite has done just that. By using underutilized kitchen space for mobile deliveries, Nextbite is helping existing restaurants grow their margins with existing kitchen space and staff.
“I grew up working in my family’s deli in Los Angeles, Canter’s Deli, and developed a technology, Ordermark, to aggregate all of the delivery apps onto one platform,” said Nextbite CEO, Alex Canter. “As we were scaling that business to help restaurants across the country, we realized a lot of the restaurants we were partnering with not only needed technology to manage their delivery business, but they all had excess capacity in their kitchens to handle more volume. We started experimenting with ways to drive incremental orders into their kitchens, and in 2019 we launched a new concept called Nextbite.”
The goal in the creation of Nextbite was to create a turnkey, delivery only restaurant brand and menus that only existed on the UberEATS and Door Dash platforms. “We started with grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken sandwiches, to grow a delivery only concept that only existed online. We ended up going back to our Ordermark client restaurants and upselling them the ability to cook food for a second menu out of their same fixed cost kitchen. In 2020 when the pandemic hit, a lot of restaurants had to shut down their dining rooms and Nextbite became the most important thing for these restaurants. We started figuring out creative ways to drive orders for these businesses and we really shifted our focus to Nextbite. In 2021 we rebranded the entire organization including the Ordermark solution into Nextbite, which really helps us with what our mission is to help restaurants with their off-premise dining.”
As for what being a part of Nextbite would look like for a restaurant’s kitchen, Canter has the answer. “There are over eight hundred thousand restaurants in the U.S., our belief is that over ninety percent of them have excess capacity in their kitchen and can make more food,” said Canter. “Whether it’s five, ten, twenty, extra orders a day, every restaurant has slow times of the day or slow times of the week that they would love to be able to crank out more food. We are in the business of matchmaking those underutilized kitchen spaces with in-demand brands. We have become a marketplace of building this network of kitchen capacity and creating and partnering it with best-in-class brands to put in those kitchens. We do not believe in the ghost kitchen model of creating new real estate or new kitchen space to cook food out of, when there is already so many kitchens that can be doing more as it is.”
According to Canter, the addition of extra orders at a low cost to the operator can be beneficial for a restaurant’s bottom line at minimal extra expenses. “Our whole mission is creating a more profitable, sustainable business model for restaurants,” said Canter. “Restaurants are used to operating on razor thin margins as it is. If you’re lucky you are making margins of five to ten percent every year. It is a very, very break-even business model, but when you can layer incremental orders on top of a business where the rent is already fixed, the lights are on and the staff is there, whether you are cooking food for one brand or multiple brands, why not cook for multiple. We are adding extra orders to restaurants that don’t require the addition of any new labor and the orders that we are adding to a restaurant have a 30 to 35% percent profit margin.”
As to what the onboarding process for a restaurant would look like, Canter has the answer. “Generally, when a restaurant wants to take on more orders, we scope out what would be a good match for that restaurant based on where they’re located, what kind of equipment they already have, what cuisine type are they making, do they want to diversify to another day part. We ship them our Ordermark device, along with rigorous training videos that teach restaurants how to produce and follow the standards for the items that we have created. We then put the brands on the delivery apps and market them in a way that will drive meaningful and incremental volume their way. We take care of one hundred percent of the marketing so that all the restaurants have to do is something that they are already good at, cook.”
For restaurants looking to unlock the full capacity of their kitchen, while adding a low cost extra source of revenue, more information can be found online at their website.