Dark Kitchens

The Rise of Dark Kitchens in South Africa

A dark what? A ‘Dark Kitchen’! And no, we do not mean a dish served without power – la Eskom. Dark kitchens, also known as ‘Ghost Kitchens’, are centralised production spaces hosting one or more ‘restaurants’ which rely purely on online orders, largely through third-party mobile platforms, such as FoodGuru.

The leading objective of these dark kitchens is to host different ‘brands’ from one kitchen. Simply put, a dark kitchen is an eatery without a front-of-house (FOH) presence and is a restaurant model focused on digitised ordering and courier services, and it’s a trend that is gathering pace locally.

The food delivery business is booming in South Africa, arguably due to lockdown restrictions. While it is true that dark kitchens existed in South Africa before the Covid-19 pandemic, the limitations on social gatherings have had a strong impact on restaurants, thus the sudden increase in food being ordered for delivery. Even as lockdown restrictions are relaxed, dark kitchens undoubtedly have a future in the food industry since consumers have adapted to a ‘new normal’ in recent months. The explanation is simple: once consumers have become accustomed to getting their food delivered at home, it becomes a habit that will be difficult to break – combine this expectation with a hungry tummy, and it’s clear, our food and beverage industry needs to adapt if we want to stay relevant.

The beauty of dark kitchens is the fact that menus are easily adaptable as trends and consumer preferences change. All that is necessary for a new brand is menu development and branding, and of course loading your ‘restaurant’ onto a food delivery platform, such as FoodGuru. The benefits of a ghost kitchen model include paying less for rent, décor, maintenance, and staff, since this type of establishment only requires a back-of-house (BOH), or essentially, a kitchen. Is it any wonder that the hospitality industry is changing?

At FoodGuru we support restaurants and eateries of all sizes. In fact, dark kitchens were the original inspiration for our food delivery platform.

Whatever your taste, be it fine dining, fast food, if you have a Dark Kitchen, get in touch with us, or register as a merchant on the FoodGuru Platform. We would love to welcome you to the family.

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