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The Secret to a Profitable Ghost Kitchen

Ghost kitchens are restaurants that exist solely for the purpose of delivery and takeout. They have no dining room or waitstaff, so they can operate with a much smaller footprint and overhead than traditional restaurants. And best of all, because they don't usually operate with a branded storefront, they can be anything they want, and as much as they want! Meaning, that if they want to be a Thai restaurant, they can. And if they want to be a Mexican restaurant at the same time, they can as well. And that is the true secret to generating as much revenue as possible with a ghost kitchen.

But what is the ideal number of concepts to run in a ghost kitchen?

The answer is very easy: as many as your kitchen can handle. But this may not be as simple as you think. On one hand, you want to have enough variety to appeal to a wide range of customers. But on the other hand, you don't want so many options that it becomes difficult to manage. The truth is, there is no perfect answer. It all depends on your individual business goals and target market. If you're looking to reach a wide audience, you'll need more concepts, and by doing this you will inevitably increase sales.

However, if your goal is to create a more efficient operation, then you might want to stick with a smaller number of concepts. You don't want to overwhelm your kitchen with so many different dishes to make that the food takes too long to come out.

Here are some general guidelines to help you figure out what's right for you:

  1. We recommend keeping it simple with one or two concepts if you're just starting out.

  2. Once you've got your operations down and are ready to expand, you can start adding more concepts - but be careful not to add too many at once.

  3. A good rule of thumb is to only add a new concept when you're confident that you can execute it well.

  4. If you're not sure whether you're ready for another concept, err on the side of caution and wait a little longer.

  5. It's better to slowly build up your menu than to try to do too much at once and end up doing it all poorly.

And here are a few things to consider when deciding how many concepts to include in your ghost kitchen:

  • The size of your kitchen

  • The number of employees you have

  • The average order size

  • The average time it takes to prepare an order

  • The type of cuisine you're serving

Keep these factors in mind, and you'll be well on your way to determining the ideal number of concepts for your ghost kitchen.

BONUS: The Big Squeeze

Many restaurateurs are feeling the squeeze as inflation and supply chain issues continue to drive up food costs. Proteins, in particular, have been hard hit, with prices rising at twice the rate of other items on restaurant menus. This puts pressure on already thin margins and makes it difficult to offer customers good value. Streamlining the menu and cross-utilizing ingredients are two strategies that can help to cut food costs and capture a bit more profit. A ghost kitchen can reduce purchasing, storage, and labor costs by reducing the number of items on the menu. By using ingredients in multiple dishes, restaurants can make better use of their inventory and reduce waste. In a challenging economic environment, these strategies can help ghost kitchens stay afloat and provide customers with good value.


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