2020 was a challenging year for many businesses with the hospitality industry, which saw widespread closures throughout March-December brought on by Government guidelines and nationwide lockdowns. Therefore many businesses had to find new and innovate ways to keep their operations running throughout the Pandemic, with many relying on delivery service only in order to survive.
With a large proportion of the general public now working from home, last year saw a sharp increase in takeaways being ordered, with online orders and deliveries now accounting for around 30% of sales in the food industry. Many companies including Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat, have greatly benefited from this shift in consumer habits by transitioning their production into ‘Dark Kitchens’ in order to fulfil orders. By adopting this model they have been able to successfully increase their output and overall reach across the UK.
Whilst not a new concept, Dark Kitchens have allowed many businesses to continue trade by setting up small production kitchens in warehouses or industrial units, often at a more affordable rent than conventional retail locations. Dark Kitchens have multiple advantages, as they can be set up to cater for several restaurants, often come with reduced overheads and can also be adapted to suit seasonal changes. They also offer great expansion opportunities for restaurants or smaller business, with no upfront costs to the operator. The delivery company will fit out the units to their specification, and the operators can have their orders completed from multiple sites whilst paying the company a commission.
Signs show that this may be a new way forward for the restaurant and delivery industry, with Deliveroo announcing that they plan to expand to 100 new towns and cities across the UK in 2021. However this is not just limited to restaurants. There has been a recent surge in grocery delivery apps including Gorillas, Getir and Fame now offering groceries to your door in under 10 minutes. A great feat that beats your local supermarket!