The future of ghost kitchens: will they thrive post-pandemic?

If you're in tune with the restaurant industry, you've read any of our past blogs, or you even just eat food, you probably know that food delivery has absolutely skyrocketed amidst the pandemic. This has caused restaurateurs around the world to adapt, and has bolstered profits for other businesses, such as delivery services and cloud kitchen spaces. Post-pandemic, the success of food delivery will depend on two main factors: the change in demand and the availability of delivery drivers.

Until recently, that phrase, "post-pandemic," sounded like a crazy dream. However, that is beginning to change as vaccines roll out, and we're all hoping for some sense of normalcy soon. This is obviously great news, but what does it mean for the future of food delivery? Well, there's no way to say for sure, but we have enough information and experience to make some educated guesses.

Will the demand change?

The first of the two factors mentioned above, demand for delivery, is a tricky one. On first thought, one would be tempted to assume everyone will rush back to dining in person and a sense of normalcy. If this were to happen, food delivery would, of course, take a massive hit. But this will most likely not be the case. In the United Kingdom, for example, the CGA conducted a study that showed about 60% of consumers intend to continue ordering in with the same frequency as now. The reality is, even once vaccines have rolled out to the majority of the public, most businesses will still have to adhere to social distancing requirements and limit dining room capacity, and many people will still not feel safe dining in.

Even for those who do feel safe and begin returning to dining rooms, delivery has still become very familiar to them. In an interview with CNN, Harvard Business associate professor Scott Duke Kominers pointed out, "[The use of delivery services] will decline once it's safe to do things in person, of course, but new habit formation is powerful." Even if people desire to go back to in-person dining here and there, they'll likely still often choose the convenience of clicking two buttons and having Chipotle dropped on their porch.

Will drivers stick around?

The second of the aforementioned factors, availability of delivery drivers, is hard to predict. The pandemic caused many people to be laid off, meaning unemployed folks were left to scramble for work. An obvious solution to this is driving for a delivery service such as DoorDash, which was practically saved by the pandemic.

As things return to "normal," whatever that means anymore, more people will presumably return to working in their usual fields and fewer people will feel the need to work such jobs. Having said that, if demand keeps up, it's safe to assume there will always be folks who need to make a few extra bucks, and those services may even look into raising their pay if drivers become scarce.

Without a doubt, delivery has changed over the past year and will likely to continue to change post-pandemic, but research and interviews with experts indicate that the industry will continue to enjoy some success. Even if delivery decreases in popularity, it will most definitely remain more popular than it was pre-pandemic.

So, if you're a restaurateur who has been thinking of capitalizing on the boom in delivery but is weary of how well it will go post-pandemic, you can probably rest easy. Plus, we, at Forward Kitchens aim to make the process of starting up a virtual restaurant as easy and low-risk as possible. With the help of our team, you can use your existing operation, however big or small, to launch a virtual restaurant with multiple brands. This means you'll have even more chances to reach consumers, with even less investment.

Start Your Virtual Restaurant with Forward Kitchens Today

We'll handle branding, website and menu design, and everything else needed to get you going. All you have to do is what you're best at: make great food (just for more people). If this sounds more like what you need, email us at or fill out this form to talk with a team expert!