Among the most significant impacts of the pandemic has been the dramatic growth in Takeout & Delivery. Tri-State and the nation’s leading distributors have taken notice as they seek to support their customer base through these most challenging of times.
On the heels of the emergence of that trend comes the launch of US Foods Ghost Kitchens program. The curriculum is designed to guide restaurant operators every step of the way when opening their own operation, helping them easily add a new revenue stream.
“The Ghost Kitchens program was developed in response to growing interest among our customers, but we’ve also been tracking the trend, and ghost kitchens are projected to reach a $1 trillion global market by 2030, making them an attractive concept for operators even after dine-in restrictions are lifted,” said Jim Osborne, Senior Vice President of Customer Strategy and Innovation.
Ghost kitchens, also referred to as dark or virtual kitchens, are professional kitchen facilities set up to support delivery or carryout meals only, offering restaurant operators an opportunity to start an additional revenue stream.
Currently, with dine-in restrictions due to COVID-19, most restaurants are experiencing challenges with the minimum dining room capacity which operators say is needed to make reopening work financially. As a result, 75 percent of restaurant operators now consider off-premise dining to be their best growth opportunity.
“We also know ghost kitchens are a departure from the traditional brick and mortar format, so some independent operators need help to jumpstart a new venture, which is why our program takes out all the guesswork,” Osborne continued. “We help the operator through every major decision. And since operators using the program often set up within their existing facilities, we’re able to help them open a ghost kitchen with minimal start-up costs in a matter of weeks, with the goal of higher profit margins and expanded customer reach.”
With the addition of this program, US Foods customers now have access to exclusive resources developed to streamline the process of starting a ghost kitchen, including proprietary technology to help identify menu opportunities, a detailed playbook to guide decision making, dedicated marketing support, webinars, and one-on-one consultations with US Foods specialists.
US Foods is leading the industry with its first-to-market, easy-to-activate program for operators exploring a ghost kitchen service model. The program will help restaurant operators drive profits by: accessing US Foods’ proprietary technology to identify the right concept based on their unique, local market conditions. It will also focus on leveraging US Foods’ knowledge and support in building and creating strong brands and digital marketing.
The US Foods Ghost Kitchen program is available in Metro New York through the Shawn McCall led US Foods/Metro New York unit based in Perth Amboy, NJ. The program also focuses on helping the foodservice operator create and optimize their menu based on US Foods’ exclusive food-costing tools, industry analysis and recipes designed by in-house chefs that focus on both profitability and diner trends. It also provides guidance on how to quickly get started so that operators are up and running in a matter of weeks.