“Dark kitchen and Host kitchen, what key criteria to get started?”

“With the health crisis and the rise of digital, certain consumption patterns have accelerated: this is the case with meal delivery. By 2024 (Editor’s note: according to the recent study by Food Service Vision), it could weigh nearly 20% of restaurant sales for a turnover of 10.3 billion euros.

To position itself in this booming market, a new franchise system is developing: that of virtual catering brands, designed for delivery and dedicated to delivery only. This new business plugs into the restaurant’s existing activity and allows it to diversify its income without disrupting its indoor activity. A boon for restaurateurs looking for additional earnings. Three criteria are to be remembered to enter this market of the future.

From Dark Kitchens to Host Kitchens

But before starting, what are we talking about? From the “Dark Kitchen”, we are now moving towards a trademark licensing model (or “host kitchen”). A company creating virtual catering brands no longer operates in a dark kitchen itself but offers establishments that already have a kitchen a turnkey package to enable them to enter the food delivery market. This turnkey package obviously includes expertise in catering delivered with popular virtual brands and a whole know-how in marketing, packaging or pricing. For his part, the restaurateur simply operates the brand in his own kitchen.

The sinews of this new market? Technology, with the integration of brands into delivery platforms and the optimization of kitchen operations (such as order prediction to reduce preparation times, optimize staff costs and limit losses). In short, a company that creates virtual brands puts technology at the service of food with the mission of helping restaurateurs to take their share of the cake in the food delivery market.

A profitable space of only 5 m2

Although there is no minimum surface area imposed for a professional kitchen, operating a virtual brand requires a free space in the kitchen more or less equal to 5m2. The required size of this space ensures the proper development of the brand by taking into account the hygiene rules that the health authorities have imposed since 1980. Embarking on the virtual brand license allows you to take advantage of the full potential of your kitchen, by making every unused square meter ultra profitable. A restaurant that operates a virtual brand can hope to increase its turnover by up to an additional 30%.

Paris, Antibes, Orléans, Toulouse, … 421 opportunities to get started!

Concept 100% dedicated to delivery, the brand licensing system implies that restaurants are present in cities where delivery platforms such as Uber Eats, Deliveroo or Just Eats are already operational. Today, courier delivery companies are present in 421 cities of France and an estimated 46% of consumers use this service. A number that continues to grow. The responsibility for the relationship with the delivery platforms falls to the holder of the virtual brand to allow the restaurateur to focus on his job: cooking!

Versatile staff without prior training

A restaurant has the possibility of operating several virtual brands (as well a brand of burgers as a brand of salad or French tacos) as long as it has sufficient space and a versatile employee. It is thus a question of drawing on the existing resources of the restaurant, without the need for new hires, to maximize the performance of the establishment. It is up to the holder of the virtual brand to take full responsibility for the training of cooks and general-purpose employees. He makes sure that the brand quality be maintained and the good modes of operation applied. This saves both money and time for the restorer.

In the end, if it is easy for a restaurateur to get started in this business, all that remains is to choose the right virtual brands to plug into their establishment. Many criteria are taken into account here, such as the rating of consumers on delivery platforms, consumer trends, the ease of operating a brand or the costs of supplying raw materials and packaging. But make no mistake, virtual brand or not, the basis of success remains a quality recipe! “

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