When you’re starting a ghost kitchen, there are many factors that you should take into account. High on the list is menu design. What will you offer at each of your ghost kitchens? How can you curate that list for maximum profit? We’ll answer these questions in today’s On Demand blog post.
The Basics of Menu Design
Before we get started, you should know the fundamental requirements for menus. Your brick-and-mortar restaurant probably serves a mixture of old favorites and unique dishes. This is a great balance to strike; you can attract both traditional and thrill-seeking diners. However, is this the best approach to take online? Not necessarily.
One of the most important qualities your menu can have is brevity. If you’ve got dozens of dishes listed, online orderers may feel overwhelmed. This causes them to bounce to another vendor’s profile. You can avoid this by making sure that your list of dishes is brief, relevant, appealing, and easily understood. Here are the steps you can take to make that happen.
What is Your Competition Doing?
First, it’s vital to evaluate the competitive landscape surrounding your business. In your delivery range, how many restaurants are offering the same items that you are? Is there enough demand for you to also provide these dishes, or will hungry diners choose to go with another company?
At The On Demand Company, we run the numbers to give you these answers. Our expert data analysts will evaluate ordering trends, cancelled orders, and other information to determine whether you should offer dishes that overlap with the competition.
Alternatively, you can identify gaps in the local restaurant scene and fill them yourself! This is the best use of a ghost kitchen. For example, if your neighbors offer American fare, but the area lacks a standalone burger joint, you can meet that need. Before you know it, your online-only burger restaurant will be raking in profits. The On Demand Company helps you to find these opportunities in your area.
Consistency is Key
Can your cooks prepare the same dishes the same way every time? If not, consider nixing complicated items from your online menu. Many people who order through food delivery apps become repeat customers, and often, they’ll select the same meal each time. It’s your job to ensure that the food leaving the premises looks good and tastes great – always. If some dishes are trickier than others, refrain from putting them on your menu.
Have Food, Will Travel
When putting together your ghost kitchen menu, you should also think about how each dish will fare during the delivery process. For example, if your sandwiches go soggy en route, your customers probably won’t be thrilled. They might decide to leave negative reviews and refuse to order again. You can avoid this obstacle by offering foods that stand up to the rigors of delivery driving.
Additionally, think about extra steps you can take to secure meals while they’re in transit. Investing in high-quality takeout containers is a must. It’s also a good idea to separate wet and dry components (like salads and their dressings) that are best assembled fresh.
Timing is Everything
When people visit a sit-down restaurant, they’re prepared to invest an hour or more in their meal. When they order online, it’s a different story. Delivery app customers expect their food to arrive quickly! If your cooks have to spend forever putting together fiddly dishes, your hungry orderers will be left waiting (impatiently). That’s why you should only offer menu items that can be prepared on short notice.
Remember that in addition to cooking time, you must consider how long it will take for Uber Eats, Postmates, or your in-house delivery service to get the food to each person’s home. If you keep these tips in mind, you’ll avoid one of the major pitfalls faced by every ghost kitchen.
Cost of Ingredients
Food costs are often underestimated, which is a major issue for restaurants worldwide. When you’re pricing your ghost kitchen menu, this is something you should take into account. You can calculate prices by considering each of these costs on a per-portion basis:
- Takeout containers, napkins, and utensils
- Labor (cooks and prep work)
- Fixed costs (rent, appliances, kitchenware)
- Cut taken by Uber Eats, Postmates, and other delivery apps
Be sure that your prices flex with add-ons so that your margins remain consistent on all dishes, even if customers add protein to a salad or extra toppings to a pizza.
Your Partner in Ghost Kitchen Operations
There’s so much that goes into creating a successful ghost kitchen. At The On Demand Company, we take stress and confusion out of the equation. If you’d like to increase your profits by 200% through delivery, contact us today.