The webinar was led by Michael Schaefer, the Global Lead for Food & Beverage at Euromonitor International. During the webinar, he noted that “we’re going to see a lot of new operators looking to fill the void with cheaper concepts . . . more delivery-friendly concepts that require less capital up front.”
Via a series of slides and commentary, Schaefer notes that “global foodservice delivery sales more than doubled from 2014 to 2019” and that 52 percent of global consumers are “comfortable ordering from a delivery-only restaurant (no physical outlet).” The pandemic, too, has made the market for ghost kitchens even more lucrative than it was at the beginning of 2020.
With most restaurants having now been more or less forced into building out off-premises strategies, ghost kitchens provide in many cases a faster, cheaper way to fulfill things like delivery orders. An accompanying slide the webinar breaks down just how much of the restaurant segment ghost kitchens could potentially capture:
- 50 percent of drive-thru ($75 billion)
- 50 percent of takeout ($250 billion)
- 25 percent of dine-in ($450 billion)
That said, ghost kitchens are “one step” in an ongoing evolution, according to Schaefer. “As more and more of the foodservice environment becomes optimized for delivery, a generation of consumers growing up with smartphones becomes accustomed and habituated to being able to order literally anything from their smartphone. That is going to drive ever-more innovation,” he said.
That innovation will in all likelihood touch every aspect of the restaurant experience, from how food gets from kitchen to customer to the types of foods prepared to the underlying technology powering operations. Ghost kitchens are getting a ton of press right now because of the role they could play in helping restaurants keep the lights on as the pandemic wreaks havoc on traditional dining rooms. But, as this week’s webinar suggests, it’s important to remember that things are just getting started as far as ghost kitchens are concerned.