Gabrielle F. Mather, CEO & Founder of Restaurant Secrets Inc., shares five points to note for the successful launch and operation of a dark kitchen in Dubai
For those interested in opening a dark kitchen to gain a footing in the virtual restaurant world, expand their current culinary operations into new territory, or due to the lower overall investment cost when compared to opening a fully-fledged dine-in restaurant, here are five elements to consider and build into your operations:
Location and its delivery radius
Location is key for a dark kitchen. It’s imperative that a dark kitchen’s surrounding areas be densely populated with residential accommodation. Consider that your delivery radius is limited to around 10km to 15km; hence, make sure there are enough people living in that area to be your regular customers. Areas such as Barsha South, Hessa Street, Al Quoz, Deira and Karama are good locations for a dark kitchen
A small, focused menu
Menus should be concise and focus on a specific dish, whether that includes pizza, fried chicken, burgers, pasta, ramen or doughnuts – pick one item and do it really well. When a consumer can relate the best chicken burger with your brand specifically, your dark kitchen will see regular return customers. Also bear in mind that dishes on your dark kitchen menu should be created with delivery and travel in mind; some food does not travel well and so be mindful before placing a dish on the menu.
Fun branding and packaging
People love concepts that spark playfulness. When you’re competing with multiple brands on a delivery platform, it’s important to stand out. Focus on high-quality imagery and intriguing branding to attract customers. Not only does it draw them in, it also encourages social sharing. Be sure to also design and develop packaging with trends and cost-effectiveness in mind.
Strong sales strategy that features regular promotions
Everyone loves a good deal and delivery platforms also feature special promotional sections that can help a brand get noticed. Whether it’s running a buy-one-get-one deal, a free size upgrade, or a free dessert, promotions help a dark kitchen get noticed, attract new diners and draw previous customers back for more. Have a strong sales strategy and using social platforms to help get the word out.
Build strong relations with suppliers and aggregators
An aggregator is a partner in marketing your brand, building product awareness, managing the logistics of delivery and in acting as a customer service and feedback mediator. Building good relations and activating all marketing channels with aggregators can be the difference between success and failure.