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Arise, Dark Kitchen

There can be few takeaway owners who would disagree that home food delivery is here to stay. The growth of the big food portals and a host of branded food ordering apps proves that consumers now want their food brought hot to their door. But, of course, some might argue the pandemic played a big part in cementing this expectation.

While it's undeniable that Covid-19 was a wake-up call to takeaway owners, in reality, all the virus did was speed up operational concepts such as Dark kitchens that were set to disrupt the takeaway delivery market long before we'd even heard of Coronavirus.

What Is A Dark Kitchen?

As the name suggests, a Dark kitchen is a full-spec cooking facility. They are set up in a discrete venue like a trading estate, quiet car park or unseen corner on the edge of a city centre. Big brand players can rent these twilight facilities to cook their signature menus for home delivery orders . All free from the costs of storefronts, serving staff and prime business rates.

They go by many names: Dark, Shadow, Cloud or Ghost kitchens, but no matter what you call them, they have been quietly establishing themselves throughout the UK.

Dark kitchens are paring the brand supply chain to the bone, ensuring market expansion is driven by cost-effective data-driven marketing, online orders from food portals and all delivered by a squadron of gig economy drivers.

Take, for example, Deliveroo Editions recent admission that they have "14 sites in the UK and 30 sites worldwide, facilitating 220 kitchens". It's a trend that's spreading nationwide with numbers of Dark kitchens in the north increasing, for example, by 100% in Leeds and in Salford by just under 93% during 2020.

Can You Stand The Heat?

The Dark kitchen operating model is expanding the choice and variety of grub available for delivery. But, most worrying, they are helping big corporate food brands get a foothold in the UK's neighbourhoods, enabling them to bring their food to the doorstep of every household.

The implications for small community takeaways are worrying. You may have noticed that your business, especially on the big food portals, is now competing with some mega food businesses. Companies that benefit from big marketing budgets and strong brand recognition.

How can a small food brand realistically compete on those terms?

The answer is simple. Take the fight to them, grasp the opportunity to take charge of your own destiny and make your brand the most important thing to you and your customers.

It's time to get a branded food ordering app that’s dedicated to your hospitality business.

Step Into The Light

It's only by developing your own app and creating your own unique marketing plan that you can break from the herd and make an impact in your community market. Only when you're free of the 'cookie cutter' marketing techniques of aggregator food portals, can you truly express yourself and make compelling offers to your market.

And the best part is if you can do all that, you'll make more money and build a loyal, enthusiastic fan base.

If that sounds a little daunting, don't worry. That's where the D of D team can help. When you launch our branded app, you also get our marketing expertise, not just initially but for the long term. We'll analyse your data to inform your marketing plan, help to sharpen your brand, develop promotional ideas and boost your online presence.

The food ordering market seems to get more challenging by the day, but with our help, you'll soon see the light followed by bigger profits, more customers and increased reorders.

Unlike other food ordering platforms, we're committed to your success, so if you want to see off the threat from Dark kitchens, then call our team today on 0161 222 7672 or visit to find out more.


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