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How to Start a Ghost Kitchen - Opportunities and Benefits

Tillie Demetriou
23 Dec 2022

Starting a Ghost Kitchen business is an exciting way to capitalize on the restaurant industry’s booming online market and enter into the world of food delivery. With a ghost kitchen, you can focus on preparing delicious meals without investing in expensive real estate or building out a full dining room in a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Plus, this type of business model offers many advantages and opportunities for the savvy business owner wanting to break into the restaurant industry.

So we're giving you the 411 on how to start a ghost kitchen, so you can reap the benefits of this new business venture. By the end of this complete guide, you'll know the following:

  • What a ghost kitchen is and how it works
  • The advantages of having a ghost kitchen
  • How to start a ghost kitchen or virtual restaurant
  • Tips for marketing your new ghost kitchen business

Let's dive in!

What is a ghost kitchen?

Ghost Kitchens (also known as a dark or virtual restaurant) is a delivery-only restaurant concept where no customers are present. Food is prepared in a commercial kitchen and delivered to customers via third-party delivery apps such as DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates, GrubHub, and others. Ghost kitchens provide the perfect opportunity for restaurants looking to expand their business with a minimal upfront cost.

Advantages of ghost kitchen

There are several benefits to having a ghost kitchen, including the following:

Reduced overhead costs:

With a ghost kitchen, you don’t have to worry about renting out a space or building out an expensive dining room. This means that you can focus more of your budget on food preparation and delivery services.

Check out our ‘how much do restaurants make in a day’ blog to learn more about costs associated with ghost kitchens and restaurants. 


Ghost kitchens allow business owners to create custom menus and target customers in specific neighborhoods. This is a great way to test out new recipes and reach potential customers who would otherwise not be able to visit the restaurant.

Increased efficiency:

Ghost kitchens are designed for maximum efficiency. With no dining room, you don’t need waitstaff or servers, so you can focus on perfecting your food preparation and make sure your meals get delivered quickly and accurately.

How to create a successful ghost kitchen business

Creating a successful ghost kitchen business takes careful planning and preparation. Here are some tips for starting your ghost kitchen venture:

Research your local regulation laws:

Before you get started, make sure to research your local laws and regulations. This will help ensure you comply with all applicable rules and don’t run into any legal trouble. Depending on where you live, you may need to obtain a business license and  permits. Additionally, it’s important to make sure your kitchen meets all health and safety requirements.

Develop a business plan:

Your business plan should include all the costs associated with starting and running your ghost kitchen, including rent for a commercial kitchen, permits and licenses, food supplies, and delivery services. You should also research potential competitors in your area to make sure you can compete on price.

Some things you should include in your business plan:

  • Business Goals: What do you want to achieve with your ghost kitchen business? What are your short and long-term goals?
  • Financial Plan: How will you finance the upfront costs of starting a ghost kitchen? Will you need to secure a loan or other funding sources?
  • Marketing Strategies: What marketing strategies will you use to reach potential customers?

Choose a concept and menu:

Your ghost kitchen concept should be unique and reflect your desired brand identity. You should also craft a menu highlighting your signature dishes or offering something different from other delivery restaurants in the area.

Some popular ghost kitchen concepts include ethnic cuisines such as Indian, Italian, or Mexican dishes. You can also focus on a particular style, such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or health-conscious offerings.

Select a restaurant name and branding:

Your ghost kitchen’s name should be creative and memorable. This will help customers identify your business when ordering food delivery services. You should also develop a logo, color scheme, and other design elements to give your ghost kitchen a unique identity.

For example, if you’re creating an Italian ghost kitchen, you could use a classic red and green color scheme with a logo featuring the iconic Italian flag. Or, if you’re creating a vegan ghost kitchen, you might use an earth-tone color palette with a tree logo.

Choose the right location:

Location is key for any hospitality business, and your ghost kitchen business is no different. Before opening your ghost kitchen, research the local market and determine what kind of cuisine would be most popular in your area. You'll also want to consider parking and traffic flow when selecting your location.

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Find the right equipment:

Investing in quality kitchen equipment is essential for any successful ghost kitchen venture. Make sure you have everything you need to prepare delicious meals, such as a deep fryer, ovens, and grills. Budgeting for the right equipment will help you save time and money in the long run.

Market your business:

Once you have your ghost kitchen up and running, getting the word out about your business is important. Take advantage of social media platforms such as Instagram or Twitter to post photos of your dishes and promote special offers.

Sign up with delivery services:

To ensure your food gets delivered, you’ll need to sign up with a variety of third-party delivery services. Make sure you research the different options available and choose the ones that make sense for your business.

Build relationships:

Finally, don’t forget to build relationships with your customers. Take the time to get to know your patrons and understand their needs so you can deliver a top-notch experience every time. Some tips for building relationships include responding to customer complaints quickly and consistently, asking for feedback on your dishes, and offering discounts or other rewards.

How can a POS system help a ghost kitchen?

A Hospitality POS (Point of Sale) system is essential for any hospitality business - and ghost kitchens are no exception!

With a hospitality or restaurant POS system, you can easily manage and track your customers’ orders, process monitor staff performance, manage inventory levels, and create custom reports and analytics - all with the touch of a button.

Plus, the best systems come with integrated payment processing services, so you can accept payments quickly and securely.

Tips for marketing your ghost kitchen

It’s not enough to just have a quality product - you also need to make sure your customers know about it! Here are some tips for marketing ghost kitchens.

Create an eye-catching logo and branding:

Your logo and branding are key elements of any successful business. Make sure your logo stands out from the competition and appeals to your target demographic.

For example, if you’re targeting a younger, trend-driven audience, use bright colors and bold font choices to draw their attention. In contrast, opt for something sophisticated but timeless if you’re targeting a more mature crowd.

Use social media:

Take advantage of the power of social media to promote your business. Post regularly on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms to engage with customers and share photos of your delicious dishes. You can also use social media ads to target potential customers in specific locations.

Let's say you opened a ghost kitchen in a busy city. By using Facebook and Instagram’s location targeting features, you can ensure that your ads reach people who live or work nearby. Another example of use social media to market your ghost kitchen would be creating a hashtag for your business and encouraging customers to share photos of their experience.

Team up with other businesses:

Partnering with local businesses can greatly increase your reach and gain more customers. See if you can collaborate with other food vendors or restaurants to cross-promote each other’s services. Or, you could reach out to local businesses and offer your ghost kitchen services at their events.

Some ideas for partnering with local businesses include offering catering services to office buildings, partnering with a bakery or coffee shop to offer delivery service, or teaming up with a grocery store to provide meal kits.

Partner with local events and festivals:

Another great way to increase your reach is by partnering with local events and festivals. You can offer to cater these events or set up a booth to sell your dishes - it’s an excellent way to get exposure and build relationships with potential customers.

Some ideas for partnering with events include offering wedding catering services, setting up a booth at music festivals, or working with local charities to provide meals for their fundraisers.

Use word-of-mouth marketing:

Word-of-mouth marketing is still one of the most powerful forms of marketing - and it’s free! Ensure you provide excellent customer service to encourage customers to keep coming back and recommend your business to others.

Understand your customers and their needs so you can deliver a top-notch experience every time. Some tips for providing excellent customer service including responding promptly to online orders, offering free delivery or discounts for repeat customers, and sending out thank-you cards to loyal customers.

Run promotions and discounts:

Running promotions and offering discounts is a great way to attract new customers. Keep track of your customers’ orders with a restaurant POS system and offer loyalty programs, special offers, and discounts, so they keep coming back for more.

By taking the time to plan ahead, you can create a successful ghost kitchen business. Invest in quality equipment, use social media platforms, sign up with delivery services and use a POS system to maximize efficiency - and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful ghost kitchen entrepreneur.

Final thoughts

So there you have it. Our complete guide on how to start a ghost kitchen. 

Starting a ghost kitchen is a great way to expand your restaurant business with a minimal upfront cost. Plus, you can save on a lot of the costs you would have to fork out with a traditional restaurant. With careful planning and preparation, you can create a successful ghost kitchen venture that will deliver delicious meals to customers all over town.

Make sure you invest in quality equipment and take advantage of the benefits that come with having a POS system - and before you know it, you’ll be running a successful ghost kitchen business.


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