Top Tips for Launching your Dark Kitchen

This Article is guest written by Chef Liam.

Creating a dark kitchen, also known as a ghost kitchen, is not that scary. Actually, quite the opposite. Many aspiring short-order chefs and takeaway entrepreneurs embrace dark (aka virtual) kitchens as a bright idea because you can get up and running faster with lower overheads. By 2030, it’s expected that ghost kitchens will make up 50% of the takeout and drive-thru dining sectors.1

A dark kitchen is a restaurant or takeaway service that operates without a traditional storefront or dine-in area. Instead, the focus is on preparing food for delivery or pickup. These dark kitchens offer lower overhead costs and greater flexibility and scalability. There is a big list of upsides and a couple of downsides; more on that in part two of this series. 

Below are seven things to consider when setting up a ghost kitchen: 


Yes, it’s all about location, location, location. Where you choose to base yourself is vital. Takeaway delivery is a local idea - you need to minimise delivery time, to get the food out hot, and also, you need to find an area where your style of cuisine fills a niche.  


This can be your home kitchen. During lockdowns, many chefs converted their home kitchens into commercial ones, but this does come with a few downsides - more on that in our follow-up article. Consider renting a commercial kitchen that operates during typical working hours, where you rent it ‘after hours’ when take-out delivery is at peak demand. There are also shared kitchen spaces (similar to coworking offices) that you rent by the hour or day.  


This is another way of saying, ‘why is your menu different?’ What sort of food are you going to prepare? It needs to fill a niche in your local market, and your menu should also be designed with delivery in mind, meaning that the dishes should be easy to transport. Hamburgers with a cultural twist are a big favourite around the world. Think about creating a focused menu that showcases your core specialities that can be prepared quickly and efficiently.  


Partnering with established delivery platforms is the easiest way to offer your food to customers. Some popular delivery platforms include Uber Eats, Grubhub, and DoorDash. You will need to pay a commission fee to the delivery platforms, so factor this into your pricing.  

If you’re considering having hamburgers on your menu, use the Angel Bay Burger Margin Calculator to see which ingredient combinations will deliver the healthiest profit margins for your burger sales. 


To stand out in a competitive market, you need a brand identity that sets you apart and effectively communicates your offering. This includes creating a name and logo that appeals to your customer demographic, designing a website, and promoting your business on social media and digital marketing channels. 


Local authorities in Australia and New Zealand ask you to obtain permits and licenses to operate a ghost kitchen. This includes permits for food handling and preparation and any necessary business licenses. 


You’ll need to manage your kitchen operations, including inventory management, food safety, and quality control. Consider using a software program to help you manage your orders, track your expenses, and handle customer service inquiries. 

The global cloud kitchen market size was estimated at 43.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 and is predicted to reach 71.4 billion U.S. dollars by 2027. 2 It represents a growing food services category. Creating a ghost kitchen requires planning and management. 

Once you get the boring stuff out of the way, with a little elbow grease and focus, you can create an efficient food production resource that offers delicious food and meets the growing demand for delivery-only food options. And don’t worry about the ghosts, they eat very little.