Serving the food app market

Rasul launches first ‘ghost’ kitchen for home deliveries

Shaf Rasul and friends: project bubbling away (pic: Terry Murden)

Busy restaurants are being offered a new option to serve the ever-increasing demands for home deliveries.

A so-called “ghost kitchen” will provide restaurateurs with all the facilities they need to supply the delivery market from a no-frills base on an Edinburgh industrial estate.

Entrepreneur Shaf Rasul has picked up on the idea now sweeping America and China and is ready launch the the first of his Crowd Kitchens concept early in the new year.

These ready-to-use commercial kitchens have no signage, no front-of-house staff and no sit-in tables. They are for businesses making food exclusively for delivery.

There will be 12 kitchens available to rent by the hour or day, all under one roof in the former Shapes warehouse in the capital’s Sighthill close to the city by-pass.

Ghost kitchens have already enjoyed huge growth overseas where restaurateurs have been able to reduce rent and labour costs.

They also give companies the flexibility to expand their business to new areas, without the financial risk of setting up a restaurant.

Thanks to apps such as JustEat and Deliveroo, the food delivery industry is growing rapidly. According to the MCA Foodservice Delivery Report 2018, food delivery was worth £8.1 billion in 2018 – up 13.4% year-on-year – and contributed to 8% of the food service market. It found 60% of UK adults are active delivery users and order, on average, twice a month. MCA predicts that the market will be worth £9.8bn by 2021.

Mr Rasul, whose SRA Ventures is backing the Crowd Kitchens project, said: “Crowd Kitchens has been a project of mine that has been bubbling away for a while. I’ve seen how this type of business partnership between restaurants and delivery apps has been growing in places like America and China and I’m certain it will be a success here too.

“If you are an established restaurant, you might already do home delivery. But doing that from your current premises interferes with your busy serving times. Having a dedicated kitchen simply for delivery means food can be prepared far more efficiently. This means more of it, more deliveries and more profits.

“Crowd Kitchens is perfect for a start-up business too because they can be up and running in a fraction of the time it takes to set up a restaurant. The cost of using Crowd Kitchens will be far less than signing a lease or mortgaging premises.”

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