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So what is a dark kitchen? In essence, it’s a delivery only restaurant. So traditionally you’ve got all of these restaurants who have offered takeout and delivery where they’ve also got a dining portion of the restaurant. And then the same kitchen cooks for the people who come in to dine in the restaurant and also cook for the takeaway. So here in the U.K., classically, you’ve got your Indian restaurants. You go in, you can sit down. You can have a meal there. But they’re also servicing a large number of takeaway orders as well. And those things are going out big, delivered to the customer sitting at a dark kitchen, the kitchen without the restaurant bit on the front end. These are purely places where food is prepared. And it’s had a straight over to the takeaway delivery person. Other names for them, cloud kitchens, virtual kitchens and dark kitchens. You’ll hear them refer to these things interchangeably, really. They do have some slightly different meanings and people can mean different things by them. But in essence, they’re all the same thing. Basically, they accept orders either online via phone call, through some sort of call centre or equivalent or via an app, either your own app or one of these food delivery aggregator apps. The classic food delivery aggregators in this market. So in the US, you’ve got things like GrubHub Burritos, housemates. In the UK, we’ve got delivery to just eat burritos as well and a bunch of others. I’m sure you all know what they are. So what are the advantages of dark kitchens? Well, you’ve got much lower setup costs and you also have much lower running costs when you are set up. The reason being is that traditionally a lot of the restaurant’s cash goes into the rental or purchase of prime real estate because you’re looking for footfall, you’re looking for patients to come in through the door. So you need to want to situate where those patients are. Now, that could be your high street. That can be a city centre that could be high, high value retail places, whereas the dark kitchen, your only need is to place it somewhere where delivery drivers can get to you and to your food customers relatively easily, which means that a lot non-traditional places become open to you. You’re able to spend a lot less money on the real estate rental portion of your business. Also, you’ve got none of the costs associated with the front of house. None of the waiters and waitresses, none of the capex associated with buying all of the tables and the chairs and the country and the linen, et cetera, et cetera. So you have a much lower cost base and a much lower running costs in general. It’s also a low risk, mainly because of the lower cost base. You can you’re not putting as much money in there on the risk that people will want to come to this restaurant or will want to eat your food or do any that kind of stuff. It gives you room to experiment. And that set up particularly because people are all in the front of house or the front for you is actually the app. So the online elements that you’ve got in your business, you’re able to experiment far more with your menu. You’re able to experiment with different concepts, formats, cuisines, things like that. You can try things out. You’re not going to spend a lot money doing that. You can see what sticks and you can move away from the stuff that doesn’t work. And you can gradually iterate and hone, hone your way towards the set up that works for you. And finally, a really good advantage to this is it’s more of a more resilient the sort of recent pandemic, COGAT, et cetera, shows this like one of the industries which has been going absolutely great guns during this has been the food delivery industry because people have been stuck at home. People have, you know, needed and wants to have access to all of this kind of food. And so you restaurants can’t eat in front of a house because people can’t be close together. But, you know, food is still a vital element of the country’s infrastructure. And so, you know, these kind of businesses are very resilient to the kind of global pandemic that we’ve seen recently.
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