Foodservice distributor US Foods Holding has launched a new programme for restaurant operators to guide them when they open their own operation.

With the launch of the new US Foods Ghost Kitchens programme, the company’s customers now have access to exclusive resources developed to streamline the process of starting a ghost kitchen.

The resources include proprietary technology to help identify menu opportunities, a detailed playbook for better decision making, marketing support, webinars and one-on-one consultations with specialists of US Foods.

US Foods Holding customer strategy and innovation senior vice-president Jim Osborne said: “The Ghost Kitchens programme was developed in response to growing interest among our customers, but we have also been tracking the trend, and ghost kitchens are projected to reach a $1tn global market by 2030, making them an attractive concept for operators even after dine-in restrictions are lifted.

“We also know ghost kitchens are a departure from the traditional brick and mortar format, so some independent operators need help to jumpstart a new venture, which is why our programme takes out all the guesswork.”

Also referred to as dark or virtual kitchens, ghost kitchens are professional facilities established to support delivery or carryout meals only.

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They offer an opportunity for restaurant operators to start an additional revenue stream.

US Foods noted that most restaurants are currently experiencing challenges, managing through the minimum dining room capacity due to Covid-19 dine-in restrictions in place.

As a result, 75% of restaurant operators are planning off-premise dining as their growth opportunity.

The ghost kitchen programme will help restaurant operators drive profits by accessing US Foods’ technology for identifying the right concept based on their local market conditions.

The operators can also build and create digital marketing by leveraging the company’s knowledge and support.

US Foods’ kitchen programme also enables them to create and optimise the menu based on its exclusive food-costing tools, industry analysis and recipes.