One positive thing to come out of 2020 is the fostering of community among neighbors and businesses across America. Such is the case with the hotel and restaurant industries, which have faced many of the same challenges.
It all started when hotel kitchens started losing dining business due to low room occupancy, and would-be restaurateurs needed space to open takeout and delivery hubs in their community. So hotels got creative, offering “ghost kitchens” to fledgling restaurants that would normally need upwards of a million dollars to open in their own bricks and mortar location.
These ghost kitchens, also known as digital kitchens, have been a benefit to both restaurants and hotels alike. That’s because the ghost kitchen can launch for a relatively low investment (in some cases under $10k), and the hotel gets the benefit of rent revenue in what might otherwise be vacant space.
Another benefit to hotels seeking to host a ghost kitchen is the value to their guests. While many hotels already offer room service, ghost kitchens give those guests options regarding where they can dine while staying at the hotel, especially if the hotel’s regular restaurant or catering department has been shuttered.
Ghost kitchens also benefit the community at large by creating jobs and generating tax revenue for their community.
However, ghost kitchens aren’t a new invention. In fact, they’ve been around since before the pandemic. There’s even a referral service called Use Kitch that works to unite restaurant hopefuls with vacant kitchens, in what the New York Times likens to an Airbnb for restaurants. More good news? Ghost kitchens aren’t going away anytime soon, either. In fact, experts expect ghost kitchens to become a trillion-dollar industry within the next decade.
So, what can you do if you’re interested in opening up your kitchen space to a ghost kitchen? For starters, you can register with a service like Use Kitch and put your space on the market. You can also search for local pop-up or food trucks to see if their owners might be interested in a more permanent location. Finally, be open to negotiations if a would-be restaurant owner approaches you. It could be a win for your hotel, your community, and your new tenant.