If you're like many consumers, you developed a newfound appreciation for food delivery services during the dark days of the global COVID-19 pandemic. With your favorite restaurants closed or limited in hours, seating, and staff, you probably depended more heavily on delivery and takeout than ever before. Now that the pandemic is showing strong signs of being in the rearview mirror, you're probably really looking forward to enjoying gatherings with family and friends. At the same time, you've probably also noticed that the pandemic years took quite a toll on the restaurant industry, and maybe your favorite restaurant catering venue no longer exists. Perhaps you've heard of ghost kitchens but don't quite know what they are or how they can meet your catering needs. Here's what you need to know.
What Are Ghost Kitchens?
Otherwise known as virtual or mobile kitchens, ghost kitchens operate on a delivery basis only. Ghost catering services typically rent industrial kitchen space on an as-needed basis only, although some kitchens operate out of mobile units, much like food trucks. They're usually comprised of a small crew that includes a chef, a cold-prep person, and a clean-up person. Some small ghost kitchens are operated solely by one person.
Ghost kitchens have grown substantially over the course of the last two years as consumers sought options other than traditional dining. As chefs and other culinary professionals struggled to survive financially during shutdowns and business failures, ghost kitchens became increasingly popular, and they're likely here to stay as the food and beverage industry continues to adapt to the new normal.
Do Ghost Kitchens Provide Good Value?
Unlike traditional restaurant catering, a ghost kitchen caterer focuses only on your order. You can also choose your own chef as long as the chef is available for ghost kitchen work, and you have substantial room to negotiate prices with chefs who operate from ghost kitchens. When you opt for ghost kitchen catering, you're paying for the food, for someone to prepare the food, and for the food to be delivered. You're not paying for the cost of waitstaff, bartenders, or traditional restaurant niceties such as linen tablecloths, fresh flowers or candles for centerpieces, and costly cutlery and crockery. Ghost kitchens are also more adaptable because they aren't tied to traditional restaurant hours. For instance, if you want to celebrate a special occasion with a festive meal at midnight under the stars, a ghost kitchen makes that happen.
For more information, contact a local catering venue.