This isn't about ghost restaurants: The real opportunity here is for existing brands to leverage their existing products and loyal diners to better deliver experiences that wouldn't otherwise happen.
— Kristen Hawley
Chick’n sando purveyor Chick-fil-a is testing two new locations that cater exclusively to delivery. As Restaurant Business reports, one is in Louisville, the other in Nashville, and they’re made exclusively for catering and delivery orders.
And, of course, they are cashless. They also have larger kitchens than the typical restaurant because they don’t need to accommodate a dining room. Is this our post-drive-thru future?
If delivery from fast food restaurants proves to not be a flash-in-the-pan thing — and right now it seems like it’s here to stay — expect more of this, especially in areas where real estate is relatively cheap. Why clutter the restaurant kitchen and counter with additional stations and a constant flow of couriers when you could send them to a completely different location set up for exactly what they need?
Uber Eats head Jason Droege told us, onstage at Skift Tech Forum this summer, that McDonald’s said that 70 percent of people who order via Uber Eats wouldn’t have gone into the store otherwise. That’s an entirely new audience captured via the power of a delivery service.
Despite early concerns that the popularity of McDonald’s delivery would severely decrease the quality of the in-store experience, the company said in March that 60 percent of orders are placed during off-peak hours.
While the off-peak stat doesn’t necessarily support the argument that commissary kitchens — also called “ghost restaurants” if you’re into headline-grabbing jargon — other numbers might. In-restaurant guests come for the experience. Delivery, take-out, and drive-thru guests are after convenience.
To meet increased demand, why not build out a location that’s all of the convenience with none of the marketing and advertising bells and whistles that cost the company money?