Dark Restaurants Are They The Future?

That headline sounds like it should land me in serious hot water on racism grounds, doesn’t it?
Fear not. What I am discussing today are changes in the way restaurants run their businesses and changes that are happening within the marketplace, that in some ways are a good thing for the small restaurant owner.

You see there has been a massive take up in the use of delivery services, such as Deliveroo, Uber eats, Just Eat and many more. People are preferring to eat at home. The next point here is that with changes over time in the way that dishes are cooked and even delivered a greater range is available to the customer that wants food that was unavailable five years or even ten years is now available for delivery.

If I look at the Deliveroo app on my phone I can get a delivery of some beautiful dishes including one of my favourite steak cuts cooked, the way I like it with some some beautiful side orders from a lovely boutique restaurant that I have visited many times and whoose food I really enjoy.

This is where we start to scratch the surface with “dark restaurants”. Services such as Deliveroo are increasing certain restaurants turnover dramatically. However with certain restaurants this can cause a problem with the ambience of a restaurant and the dining experience.

On a consultancy basis I have encountered this with some restaurants. The owners say they are receiving feedback from eat-in customers, that the heavy traffic in and out of a restaurant of delivery riders and drivers is spoiling the ambience of a meal.

This where dark restaurants come in. Imagine yourself as a restaurant owner that provides not only excellent food but an experience and occasion for diners that the delivery business is impacting. How would you like to keep both revenue streams and both sets of customers happy? This is where a dark restaurant makes sense.

A dark restaurant sees no customers it is just a kitchen cooking the same fantastic and flavoursome dishes, providing exactly the same menu to the same high standards. The only customers it will ever see are delivery riders and drivers. Therefore it does not need a high street presence. It needs space for a delivery vehicle to turn around, the kitchen and associated staff facilities. It can be placed across town in cheaper premises if needs be.

Therefore the term dark restaurant. It is invisible to eat-in dining customers. The lights are not on for them! They get the experience and occasion at the restaurant. Some restaurant owners may not be able to convert their premises to accommodate delivery crews and expectant eat in customers separately on the same site.

Dark retail has been an acceptable business term for some time.. Now it is time to add dark restaurants to that acceptable business term list.

The business issues outlined above have meant that I am dealing with this dark restaurant concept more and more and advising restaurant owners on how best to achieve this. If you a restaurant owner who wishes to look at the dark restaurant concept. I would be delighted to speak with you. Please use the form below to contact me.