What is the idea behind a Dark Kitchen?

Dark kitchens: the solution to kitchen inefficiencies and high operational costs.

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Why use a dark kitchen in Singapore?

A dark kitchen is a kitchen space whereby no dine-in customers are served. They are often tucked away in more residential and quieter neighbourhoods, and cook food to either supplement another dine-in restaurant elsewhere or, more commonly, be delivered on third-party delivery platforms straight to the customer’s door.

The dark kitchen, as an idea, has existed in Singapore and around the globe for some years now, but recent years have seen an explosion in their popularity. The food delivery boom, driven by our changing habits and the success of delivery companies like Deliveroo, Foodpanda, and Grabfood, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, have encouraged more and more food entrepreneurs to try their hand in the dark kitchen world. But what is it that’s so attractive about them?

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KITCHEN SOLUTION

What Are The Dark Kitchen Solutions In Singapore Like?

Our state-of-the-art dark kitchens in Singapore are perfectly optimised for food-delivery businesses intent on keeping costs low and profits high. Our kitchens boast anywhere from 20-32 units, some of which even have dine-in availability if your customers prefer to eat in.

Space

  • Driver pickup area
  • Receiving & loading dock
  • Staff pantry
  • Restrooms
  • Walk-in Chiller (for Tampines and Clementi only)
  • Walk-in Freezer (for Tampines and Clementi only)
  • CCTV Monitored
  • Access controlled
  • Both enclosed and open kitchens

Services

  • Order pickup & processing
  • Courier handoff
  • Cleaning & maintenance
  • Safety & health inspections
  • Delivery logistics
  • Extraction & ventilation
  • On-site support staff
  • Insurance
  • 24/7 Access
  • Pest Control
  • Waste Disposal
  • Grease Trap Cleaning
  • Wasteline Cleaning
  • Aircon Cleaning
  • Exhaust System Cleaning
  • Fire Protection and Suppression System Maintenance

Equipment

  • 2 Compartment sinks
  • Commercial exhaust hood
  • Power and gas
  • Grease-trap/interceptor
  • Cold & freezer storage
  • Dry storage / Dry rack
  • Extraction & ventilation

Utilities

  • Gas points
  • Power outlets
  • Gas/fire safety system
  • WiFi
  • Fire suppression systems
  • Data points

HOW

How can dark kitchens save you money?

By owning and operating a dark kitchen in Singapore you will be able to be one step ahead of your F&B competitors.

01

No money spent on front of house responsibilities

As mentioned, front of house responsibilities is the burden of traditional restaurant models. Having waiters and bartenders is undoubtedly a premium experience, but that is not what the majority of people are looking for at the moment. With less and less people eating out and more ordering delivery, it is time to optimise your business with a dark kitchen.

02

Less money spent than running a costly dine-in location

Dark kitchens are designed to be optimised spaces that get the job done. There is no wasted money when you operate in a dark kitchen: orders are fulfilled, and customers get exactly what they want: no more and no less.

03

Easy scalability

One of the true tests of running a successful restaurant business is whether you can scale it. Over 80% of restaurants close down within the first 5 years, largely because of the extortionate operational costs required and, to many, unachievable upfront costs related to opening a new location. Dark kitchens offer a solution to this, taking permits, renovations, optimisations and logistics out of the equation and allowing you to move in and get started faster and cheaper than ever.

04

Make the shift to delivery with Smart City Kitchens

Want to modernise your restaurant business and have a kitchen space dedicated to deliveries? Get in touch with Smart City Kitchens today and take your F&B business to the next level.

/ THE FUTURE

The future of restaurant businesses in Singapore

virtual-brands-singapore

With the F&B industry in a period of huge transition, one thing is clear: restaurant businesses must adapt in order to survive. The rise of food delivery services has come about following a shift in consumer behaviour and has been expedited by the recent pandemic. Now more than ever, customers are looking for convenient sources of food that match the quality they would find in a dine-in restaurant. To meet this demand, restaurants have had to shift towards selling their food on third-party delivery services and optimise their kitchens in a way that complements this. Even though dine-in restaurants will always exist in some capacity, their hold over the industry as the status-quo for high-quality meals is fading away. With highly efficient delivery-focused dark kitchens popping up around the country, the dine-in model is becoming obsolete. Optimised dark kitchen spaces offer restaurant businesses the chance to grow and expand at a much faster rate, and without unjustifiable risk.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are dark kitchens and why are they called dark kitchens?

Virtual or ghost kitchens are other names for dark kitchens. They are also sometimes referred to as ghost kitchens and cloud kitchens, but all work in the same model. Different from traditional restaurant kitchens having a physical store, dark kitchens are F&B spaces designed and built to prepare food and beverage for delivery or takeaway via an online ordering menu.

Virtual or ghost kitchens are other names for dark kitchens. They are also sometimes referred to as ghost kitchens and cloud kitchens, but all work in the same model. Different from traditional restaurant kitchens having a physical store, dark kitchens are F&B spaces designed and built to prepare food and beverage for delivery or takeaway via an online ordering menu. While the customers don't know where the food has been prepared when placing an order online, it will no doubt leave them hungry for more!


How do dark kitchens work?

Dark kitchens work by catering to the growing market of food delivery orders from mainly third-party food delivery platforms in Singapore such as Deliveroo, Foodpanda, and GrabFood. They usually do not have any seating area (though some facilities do have dine-in), and therefore do not serve dine-in but mainly delivery and takeout orders. Most, if not all, of the rental area, is used for kitchen space to improve efficiency and cut costs. The result is a streamlined kitchen that is set up for ultimate success.

Dark kitchens work by catering to the growing market of food delivery orders from mainly third-party food delivery platforms in Singapore such as Deliveroo, Foodpanda, and GrabFood. They usually do not have any seating area (though some facilities do have dine-in), and therefore do not serve dine-in but mainly delivery and takeout orders. Most, if not all, of the rental area, is used for kitchen space to improve efficiency and cut costs. The result is a streamlined kitchen that is set up for ultimate success.

The process of moving into a dark kitchen starts with selecting the location - Smart City Kitchens has strategic locations all over Singapore. Next, the business owner will need to sign the contract and pay the necessary deposit before deciding what kitchen equipment is required to prepare the food. After that, the restaurant will have to ensure it is on the relevant delivery platforms that cater to the public in Singapore. In Smart City Kitchens' dark kitchens, all orders, regardless of whether they come from different food delivery platforms, will be able to be viewed on one tablet. All that's left after this is to connect to the delivery platforms, wait for the orders to come through, cook the food and pass it to the delivery driver to be delivered to the customer.


How do you get a dark kitchen?

Most dark kitchens are opened in collaboration with a dark kitchen provider like Smart City Kitchens. The provider will organise all the bureaucratic difficulties of opening a new restaurant like renovations, permits, insurance, and more. This means that you can move in and start cooking within weeks.

Most dark kitchens are opened in collaboration with a dark kitchen provider like Smart City Kitchens. The provider will organise all the bureaucratic difficulties of opening a new restaurant like renovations, permits, food licenses, insurance, and more. This means that you can move in and start cooking within weeks.


How much do dark kitchens cost?

Expect to spend from SG$2500 per month on opening a ghost, or dark, kitchen (compared to over S$200k for a traditional restaurant) here in Singapore. This will of course vary depending on how much new or specialised equipment you need, how big your space is, and where it is located.

Expect to spend between S$3,500 to S$5,000 per month on opening a ghost, or dark, kitchen (compared to over S$200k for a traditional restaurant) here in Singapore. This will of course vary depending on how much new or specialised equipment you need, how big your space is, and where it is located.


 What kind of dark kitchen ideas could I start?

There’s plenty you could do in a dark kitchen. From dessert brands to fast-food chains, the dark kitchen ideas are near-endless. But this is exactly what makes them so advantageous in comparison to traditional restaurants. This flexibility means that experimenting with new cuisines, new markets, or new brands is no longer such a huge risk. We would recommend you bring the very same idea you had for your dream restaurant and instead apply it to the dark kitchen model. Especially with the way the industry is trending, almost any F&B business idea can find success in the dark kitchen world.


Open a dark kitchen today