Trend Talk: All about Ghost Kitchens

An insightful exchange of opinions between an analyst, consultant and manufacturer

Rational’s inaugral Trend Talk, All about Ghost Kitchens webinar focused on ‘The ideal set-up’, received in excess of 500 registrations from over 50 countries last month. The webinar featured top-class speakers: Mark Dempsey from GlobalData, Joseph Schumaker FCSI from FoodSpace and Stephan Leuschner from Rational, the moderator was Michael Jones from Progressive Content.

Adam Knights, marketing director, Rational UK and Ireland comments, “The first Trend Talk was extremely well supported by our customers. The subject of Ghost Kitchens has shown to be of great interest within our home market. So we are looking forward to introducing further expert talks on key topics in the near future.”

From the perspective of Mark Dempsey, global consulting director at data analytics and consulting firm GlobalData, ghost kitchens – often referred to as dark kitchens or cloud kitchens – are playing an increasingly important role in the foodservice sector. This will probably not change significantly, even after the Covid-19 pandemic. After all, a noticeable reduction in costs, simplified production and customer-friendly solutions are proving to be a success for this type of out-of-home business.

Global opportunity

“Ghost kitchens are a global opportunity. All regions are actively developing solutions,” said Dempsey. For example, more and more supermarkets are interested in ghost kitchens, which can be integrated into storefronts. Similarly, quick-service chains are jumping on the bandwagon – the average quick-service restaurant employs 30 to 50 people, whereas a ghost kitchen can be run with two people per shift. He concluded that ghost kitchens are very dynamic, open to new technologies and will change the foodservice business for good.

Joseph Schumaker FCSI, CEO and founder of FoodSpace, which specialises in kitchen planning, foodservice management and growth strategies, also assessed the market from a planner’s perspective. Schumaker sees a big challenge in the customer experience. How does the virtual brand manage to offer its customers the same experience as a traditional restaurant that creates atmosphere in an instant through tableware, music and an open kitchen?

Stephan Leuschner, an expert on ghost kitchens at Rational, demonstrated the output that is achievable with the right planning and the right equipment. “The requirements for a perfect ghost kitchen also include the flexibility of the set-up in order to offer different dishes and to be able to change the food offering quickly if necessary.”

In addition, the following considerations are important: separate work areas to ensure workflow at all times; energy-efficient equipment to keep fixed costs low; and adaptability to fit into the environment and infrastructure. In parallel, Leuschner defined operational requirements such as safe and easy-to-use equipment for every level of training, standardisation for safety and consistent quality, ergonomic workstations for greater safety and efficiency, versatile equipment for small areas, and the possibility of centralised pre-production and final preparation in smaller satellite kitchens.

How all of this theory looks like in reality was shown by his examples of successful kitchen set-ups in which the workflow was right, not least because of equipment such as the iCombi Pro combi steamer or the iVario multifunctional cooking system from Rational.

Further details:

For those interested in watching Session 1 again or who did not have the opportunity to be there live, you can register for the on-demand recording at and also register here for further sessions.


RATIONAL is the leading provider in hot food preparation equipment and, with the iCombi Pro and the iVario multifunctional cooking system, the company delivers 95% of all conventional cooking applications. Rational’s ConnectedCooking allows operators to monitor, manage and update their Rational appliances remotely, from a PC, tablet or smartphone. iKitchen is the combination of the iCombi Pro, iVario Pro and ConnectedCooking – iKitchen delivers the best kitchen management and the best cooking solutions.

For information and brochures, or to find out about free Rational Live online demonstrations, call +44 (0)1582 480388, freephone 0800 389 2944 or visit


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