Dark Kitchens in London and the Takeaway Boom

Dark Kitchens in London & the Takeaway Boom

A dark kitchen otherwise known as a ghost kitchen, cloud kitchen or shadow kitchen, is attended by professional cooks who prepare meals for either a virtual restaurant or a restaurant from shipping containers, empty rooms or retail spaces. Meals can then be collected to be given to a customer as a takeaway, or collected to be delivered to a customer’s address.

Dark kitchens have become really popular across London and the UK as the need during Covid lockdown for contactless food delivery, today continues the upward trend to align with changing consumer behaviours and increased cuisine diversity.

One or more restaurants can rent the same dark kitchen, so lots of different menu items can be made for different businesses and different brands at any one time.

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Shipping Container Rental will Never be the Same

Since the first lockdown in the UK, restaurants in London (not accounting for other locations across the UK) are now selling in excess of 890,000 extra meals each week. During lockdown a lot of food businesses were forced to take sell their food deliveries online, and dark kitchen outlets in London increased by around 40%.

London has at least nine dark kitchen locations which includes Whitechapel and Islington which in turn makes up nearly 66% of those dark kitchens.

The interest is there, so the industry has seen a boom despite physical bricks and mortar restaurants having to close down for long periods of time. Food companies have had to adapt to keep their food businesses profitable or to at least break even, so a year on from lockdown where does the restaurant and food service industry stand, how has it changed?

Food delivery is suddenly in more demand than ever..

  • It is easy to order from a mobile phone or a mobile device
  • Orders can be tracked using mobile apps
  • Customers are younger
  • High quality food is readily available and it is delivered quickly

Starting to shape the market are restaurants that join up with online delivery services which are easily accessible.  Couriers are at the ready to deliver orders not just locally but in locations which were once unthinkable.

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What is the Future for Restaurants in London and the UK?

Consumers now have more choice than ever and the costs of waiting staff and other overheads are drastically reduced in comparison to a traditional restaurant set up. If dark kitchens continue to grow in popularity the way consumers dine will follow. Growth of ghost kitchens in the North of England saw even greater growth than London during lockdown, but the uptake of dark kitchen services didn’t always show an increase, in fact in different areas of the UK, the need for dark kitchens from the consumer didn’t exist so it remains to be seen if dark kitchens will be here to stay for the long term.

Delivery infrastructure is adapted to customer behavior and customer purchase data is decisive when deciding which partner restaurants to select to help to expand reach.

Deliveroo and Uber Eats are very close competitors, and as of today, Uber Eats has no plans to create an empire of dark kitchens, where Deliveroo already plays a role in this space. But UK companies, such as Food Stars, use a different approach where they find independent start ups and restaurants to rent dark kitchens to.

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Ghost Kitchens – What’s Next and Who Fixes Them When They Break down?

The approach to takeaway food in the UK changed during the lockdown when restaurants and cafes were asked to suspend business. Closing restaurant doors was tough but there was no choice.

Is the growth of dark kitchens destroying restaurant culture? There is no suggestion at all at this point that demand to eat out at your local restaurant on the high street will suddenly drop, and only time will tell us more. Indeed, restaurants are using ghost kitchens to their advantage but a ghost kitchen in principal isn’t controlled by restaurants so rules and terms of service can change quickly. Investing in a satellite kitchen, instead of paying to use one, would be a useful but costly step but it carries a lot of risk.

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Ghost kitchens and traffic from couriers can be noisy and although those located within a shipping container are mainly located in the middle of nowhere, people living near them have been known to register complaints to the local Council even in London.

So the ghost kitchen market on the whole, even after weighing up pros and cons, is evidently providing an extra layer of service for both the customer and the restauranteur including established popular restaurants which was never anticipated before lockdown began.

Dark Kitchen Extraction Systems – Repair, Installation and Maintenance

All professional kitchens require attention from time to time and dark kitchens are not exempt from this. Fan Services Ltd offers a full range of commercial kitchen extraction and ventilation services across London including City of London, Inner London and Outer London. If your establishment is in need of a quality ventilation and extraction systems including or if you simply need parts of it repaired, replaced, or cleaned let us know. Fan Services Ltd is a leading installer, supplier and all-round repair expert when it comes to commercial kitchen ventilation and extraction systems in London.

Fan Services Ltd – We’re Here to Help You

Ever since the first lockdown in England we have been right there helping commercial food businesses in City of London, Inner London and Outer London. Day to day 7 days a week we help with all aspects of commercial extraction system maintenance, supply, installation, repair as well as professional duct cleaning and dark kitchens.

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We have the experience you and your kitchen needs, to get you back up and running in no time. We’re located in London and trusted by thousands of businesses. Our professional engineers are exceptionally qualified in all aspects of Commercial Kitchen Extraction Systems and duct cleaning for ghost kitchens, so you can leave everything in our very safe hands. We can 100% promise you a service you will greatly appreciate.

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Fan Services Ltd helps commercial kitchen establishments in London including:

Fast Food chains and independents
Limited companies and self employed
Sports Event providers
Dark kitchens
If you have had a bad experience with a different extractor fan company we will help – you can rely on us.

Fan Services Ltd provides the following services:

Fan Services Ltd is long established and is based in London in the UK. We will get your kitchen up and running quickly!  We provide services for every part of London so let us know what you need. Our Emergency Call Out Service is available 24 hrs a day 7 days a week.

Don’t take any short cuts, we know exactly what we are doing – get in touch we’d love to help. You can use our contact form – it’s quick and easy to fill out. Or you can email info@fanservices.co.uk or call our office in London 0203 5391475 / mobile phone 0759 500 3000 to discuss your requirements.

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