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Shedding light on dark kitchens

With the likes of Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat gaining more and more popularity, it’s no wonder that alongside them, there’s a growing number of ‘dark kitchens’ popping up.

In 2019, dark kitchens were already valued at around 40 billion dollars. Both well-known restaurants and food entrepreneurs are launching and expanding their businesses in the delivery space via dark kitchens. With high rents in traditional commercial kitchens, it’s a better option.


What is a dark kitchen?

Don’t worry, chefs aren’t sitting with the lights off trying to dice onions blindfolded.

A dark kitchen (also known as a ‘ghost’ or ‘shadow’ kitchen) refers to a physical kitchen premises with no store front. They may be converted warehouses, or smaller kitchen operations separate from commercial kitchens.

Chefs can take up residence in these dark kitchens and prepare meals for any number of well-known restaurants purely for the delivery arena. This means they no longer have to take up space or pay high rent rates in physical restaurants.

No ‘click and collect’. No drive-thru. Your food is prepared and on the move.


What are the challenges of dark kitchens?

Like any emerging industry, dark kitchens have their challenges. Keeping the lights on in a dark kitchen is no mean feat.

With such rapid growth in so many instances, owners of these kitchens have to do everything they can to make sure things are running smoothly, while meeting strict food hygiene regulations.


Maintaining food quality standards and consistency

Many staff may be working across several brands within one kitchen. Each of these will have their own unique ingredients, recipes, packing standards, and procedures. Memorising all these different details and applying them is no small task for any dark kitchen chef.

As in any service-based business, consistency is a key factor in customers returning to you. Within hospitality, you also have to contend with strict food standards on top of that.


Meeting high order volumes – prepping and packaging orders

In the western world, demand for takeaway and delivery food doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. These dark kitchens are often turning over high cover volumes per shift and therefore need to know how to manage this effectively and efficiently.

This is particularly challenging because dark kitchens typically will have fewer staff running the operation. This is often the appeal to many but can be both a blessing and a curse. Every team member needs to know exactly what their role is and what’s expected of them.

As the saying goes, if you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.


How does Attensi support dark kitchen training?

With years of experience working with well-known hospitality brands such as Marston’s, Attensi understands the need for speed when it comes to such a hustling, bustling industry.

Our gamified training solutions have already transformed the learning and development within the industry, and we’re pleased to be able to support the booming dark kitchen industry by making sure they can continue to be game changers in their field.

Reducing time to competency

As we said, we know that hospitality is never sitting still. Even during the global pandemic, the industry pivoted and adapted to meet the needs of the hungry people. Time is a precious commodity in a busy kitchen. Attensi’s gamified platform can help your teams gain the competencies they need as much as five faster than traditional training.

Your Attensi platform is designed to be mobile-first, meaning team members can play at a time that suits them. Attensi client Island Poke actually found that 56% of their teams’ playing time took place over evenings and weekends in their spare time. No more being taken off the cooking line during a busy service. Players can fit their training in around their shifts – wherever that may be. The freedom, flexibility, and bite-size modules allow participants to enormously reduce the time it takes to reach the required competencies.

For practical people used to working with their hands, this hands-on approach to training is often preferable to more traditional learning methods.

Realistic scenarios

Despite all our best efforts, things don’t always go to plan. When you’re dealing with hot pans and sharp knives, things can go quite drastically wrong if you’re not careful in a kitchen.

Attensi’s simulation training offers team members a unique, immersive experience in their training. As they play through their modules, they’ll have the ability to see various outcomes based on their decision-making. In this setting, in particular, this can be an incredibly helpful tool when it comes to things like health and safety.

Product knowledge

When working across so many brands, there’s a lot to learn when it comes to ingredients, recipes, and preparation. Attensi SKILLS may be the answer you’ve been looking for. This platform, with its series of bite-sized mini-games, can be the perfect memory aid to help chefs get their product knowledge up to speed. Attensi clients see up to 85%+ in knowledge gap closure. You could be part of it.

Speaking to every learning style, there’s a quick-fire game for everyone. What’s more, your team will be able to follow each other’s progress on the leaderboard. In many cases, this added level of competition encourages team members to log on and spend more time playing to beat their peers to the top.

The hospitality industry is no stranger to making swift adaptations. The phenomenal rise of dark kitchens only goes to show how quickly businesses can evolve and move to meet increasing customer demand.

To find out more about how Attensi can support you with getting your dark kitchen up and running, speak to one of our expert team now.

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