It goes without saying that during the pandemic, demand for food delivery has surged dramatically. And with it, the competitiveness in the hospitality sector, as consumers are demanding more conveniency and choice than ever before. With more availability, ever widening choice of restaurants and opportunities to share their experiences instantly, consumers’ power is increasing.

The benefits of dark kitchens

The need for fulfilling orders quickly to get them out for delivery, in places where customers can’t dine in or pick up their order, accelerated the demand for dark kitchens during the pandemic. And it’s no surprise that the market is expected to almost double in market size in the next decade. Dark kitchens, or delivery kitchens as we prefer to call ours, provide unprecedented benefits to restaurants, allowing them to expand faster at minimal cost and commitment, while achieving higher volumes and profitability. 

“Facilities that produce food for delivery only, could create a $1 trillion opportunity for food delivery in the next decade”

— Euromonitor

Restaurants are benefiting from more and more dark kitchen providers entering the UK market. And even though launching a new dark kitchen site is associated with less risk than launching a brick-and-mortar outlet, there are a few crucial steps that need to be nailed to maximise the chances of success for your delivery-only site. Therefore we want to shed some light on how to set up a delivery-only operation and ultimately succeed in the dark kitchen business.

Three steps to succeeding in the dark kitchen business

1. Build awareness

When launching your offering in a new dark kitchen site you want to gain a competitive edge early on. Especially the period right after launch will define customer ratings and ultimately the long-term success of your restaurant business. This is because delivery apps use algorithms to determine how to show restaurants to customers. These algorithms learn how popular, fast and well rated each restaurant is over the first 6 weeks after launch.  

The first step towards high customer ratings, is to actually be available to customers where they are. This means increasing availability and visibility on multiple delivery platforms, maximising opening hours and minimising rejections.

Of course, it doesn’t stop there. Speed, efficient order management, customer experience and order simplification are the basic pillars for a successful delivery-only site.

Hence keeping preparation and wait time low is absolutely critical to establish efficient operations as well as to drive repeat rates up – especially since customers are most likely to complain when their food is not warm enough or fresh enough when it arrives.

Plus, with a surging volume of available information online, attention spans are falling. People don’t want to spend ages placing an online order – they want to find the best food and they want it quickly. That’s why you should make use of marketing tools on aggregator platforms or offer promotions through your own delivery solution to stand out during your launch.

2. Improve conversion

Once you’ve grabbed consumers’ attention, your goal is to maximise sales from anyone that looks at your offering. It’s vital to use the tools available to you to convince potential buyers of your offering and ultimately convert.

To avoid losing potential customers make sure you:

  • Feature an enticing hero image

  • Use high-quality images on every dish

  • Communicate well with clear and enticing descriptions

  • Place your best sellers near top

  • Offer bundles that increase basket size

  • Use offers to drive volume

3. Drive repetition

Living in a digital world means that anyone can be an online critic. With 84% of people trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations, ratings and reviews have never been more important.

The good news: when done right, online reviews can be turned into a powerful marketing tool. By offering your customers an unexpected reward as part of their order, you’re not only able to create an additional touchpoint with your brand, but also a memorable experience that will ultimately encourage them to talk positively about your restaurant.

Whether that’s personalised thank you notes, branded gifts or freebies, people value personal gestures. In fact, 71% of consumers feel frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal.

Another thing to consider as part of your customer success strategy, would be a loyalty program. Data suggested that loyalty programs would encourage 45% of consumers to use online ordering services more often.

The kitchens of tomorrow

Dark kitchens are revolutionising the way restaurants can serve their customers. And even with lockdown restrictions being lifted, food delivery is here to stay. Why? Because people will continue to demand the convenience it offers. Restaurants who are taking advantage of this rapidly growing market now, will be the ones serving consumers looking for speed and immediacy.


Curious to see how our delivery kitchens could benefit your restaurant? Talk to us to learn more.