The New Era of Delivery Only Restaurants
It was only a few year ago that applications like Uber Eats and GrubHub became widely known and used. Both of these applications have always provided a wide array of dining options. But with the pandemic wreaking havoc on the restaurant world, new restaurants have flooded onto these apps to try and take advantage of the only revenue opportunity left during a lockdown.
Now that re-openings have started to happen, the new normal is setting in. Restaurants are only using a fraction of the seating that they had used pre-pandemic. Many restaurants have managed to piece together outdoor seating areas, but of course those are whether dependent. Even the pool of potential customers has gone declined, as there are plenty of past-patrons who are now uncomfortable sharing a space with strangers, let alone dining alongside of them.
A few year ago, I recall reading about the concept of dark kitchens for fast food restaurants. Dark kitchens would be small buildings shared by chain food restaurants that would prepare orders for customers placing orders on apps like Uber Eats and GrubHub. Not only do dark kitchens boost the capacity of orders, they also salvage the in-person experience for those dining-in at traditional locations. The idea made a lot of sense a few years ago, but for many businesses the delivery order volume was not significant enough to justify the costs.
Fast forward a few years later and add a worldwide pandemic, and dark kitchens seem like an extremely valuable investment. While the term dark kitchens may not have stuck, the concept is strongly moving forward. For example, Cordia Corporation recently launched a virtual restaurant division called Virtual Dining Brands, this division is now operating 2 delivery only brands called Vegas.Pizza and KO Sports Bar. Cordia anticipates developing management agreements with landlords for vacant restaurant spaces using this delivery only business model.
Unfortunately, Cordia is on the right track here, the number of vacant restaurant and retail spaces is predicted to hit an all-time high since the pandemic has driven a good portion of the country’s business online. While it is upsetting to think off all the businesses that did not make it through the COVID crisis, it is exciting to explore the opportunities the shift in everyday life is presenting. Whether you have an existing restaurant or are looking to start one, now is a great time to think outside of the box.
Make sure your new or existing food service business has all the right disposable supplies to handle increased delivery orders.