Have you been dreaming of setting up your restaurant but don’t have enough resources to do it? Don’t wait for years to realize your dreams. Starting a virtual restaurant may be what you want to do! Building your own business from scratch always faces risks. But if you have the passion for making your dreams a reality, you can manage these challenges and work within your resources.
Virtual restaurants, also known as ghost kitchens, mostly do not have a brick-and-mortar building where customers can dine. Most often, they operate through deliveries or takeaways. Some of these businesses have a small dine-in space that is hardly pleasant and inviting. They are constructed this way as they only allow quick and easy food ordering through their website or a mobile app.
Passion for cooking alone is not enough to make your dream of building a virtual restaurant a reality. You have to acquire concrete, practical steps that can make you 100-percent ready.
Write a business plan.
Like any restaurant business, your virtual restaurant needs a business plan that contains your dream project’s comprehensive direction. This may contain your kitchen goals, plans, and projection to make sure you are making the most of your capital and other resources. You have to pay close attention to a couple of things:
This may result from a survey and research that will compare your business with your competitors in the area. Consider the important factors such as the pricing trends, the demand, the demographics, foot traffic, and others.
Products and services
This aspect will determine the kind of food you want to offer. Most likely, you have to select from mainstream options such as Chinese and Japanese food, Indian food, Mexican food, pizza, Mediterranean food, and fast-casual food. You have to start thinking about the kind of ingredients and equipment, packaging and type of delivery services that best suit the food you are cooking.
The financial projections will come after the market research and include monthly income projections, forecasts for cash flow, and funding details. In this stage, maybe you can decide if you afford the cost of a restaurant franchise. If you cannot afford a franchise, you can always create your own signature brand.
Create a website for your virtual restaurant.
Let potential customers access details about your virtual restaurant. Ensure that your website is well-designed and user-friendly to encourage users to browse through the menu options and delivery services that you can offer.
WordPress, Kinsta, and the WooCommerce Setup Wizard are convenient, reliable online tools that will let you walk-through in setting up e-commerce features for your virtual restaurant website. These features may include food delivery options, shipping zones, and the corresponding rates that you will assign. WooCommerce, in particular, has plugins that will allow you to create order forms.
Find a kitchen space.
Finding a kitchen space is crucial in ensuring that the orders are cooked properly. You can opt to rent a small space with a storefront containing your restaurant’s name or share a kitchen with other ghost kitchens. Choose a kitchen space closes to your delivery area to avoid delivery delays and ensure that your food remains fresh. Food-truck-style kitchens are also a good option as long as you have all the kitchen equipment you need.
File all necessary licenses and permits.
You want to make your business legal, and the only way to do it is to acquire all needed licenses and permits. Research if your state, country, and city have special permits that you need to acquire aside from traditional permits such as the food handler’s license, catering license, and kitchen inspection certification.
Choose reliable suppliers.
Research and select reliable and reputable distributors to supply you with the utensils, materials, and supplies for your virtual kitchen. You will be lucky if you find a supplier who can fulfill all of these needs. However, be open to having more than one distributor who will be working with you.
Setting up a virtual restaurant may be challenging but a fulfilling task. You have to carefully consider the factors mentioned and decide whether you are fully ready to open your own business. Decide whether you will rely on your own delivery service or hire a third-party delivery service provider to bring customer orders.
Also, consider how to make your products unique and appealing to your target market. You may want to hire services from a web designer for the brand’s logo, brand colors, font treatments, slogans, or any catchphrases that come along with your product packaging.