The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a rise in what’s convenient and cost-effective.
While restaurants, catering businesses, and food trucks across the country took a massive blow last year, delivery services like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Postmates started doing really well. In fact, over the last year, online food delivery has grown by 125 percent amidst a hard-hit economy.
That’s because restaurateurs quickly realized something they could all do (or were already doing) to stay afloat: takeout and delivery or curbside pickup.
And to do so, sometimes all they need is a kitchen.
Meet Tyler Shin and his team at Revolving Kitchen. From a designated space in Garland, Shin offers 25 modern, fully outfitted commercial kitchens for short- and long-term rental. Each comes with food technology and delivery solutions, all at a fraction of the cost associated with traditional restaurants.
Think of it like a coworking space for cooking: The concept is often called a “ghost” or “cloud” kitchen for anyone in the food business to thrive. The expansive warehouse facilities were gutted and built from scratch by Shin and his team, equipped with the infrastructure and equipment necessary to develop a new concept or scale while driving costs down.
This type of model has been on the rise in the U.S. in recent years, with reports predicting the sector to triple to $972 billion by 2026. When paired with turnkey delivery technology, commissary kitchens help business owners overcome insurmountable capital demands and administrative burdens that often cloud brick and mortar.
Because Revolving Kitchen’s space is delivery optimized, online food orders can be streamlined while Shin’s company shoulders burdens usually handled by food businesses.
“Revolving Kitchen helps restaurants reach this rapidly growing segment of consumers,” Shin told Dallas Innovates. “Restaurants are no longer forced to expend time and energy on front-of-house operations, utility bills, equipment maintenance, building repair or health inspections. We handle administrative burdens so food businesses can focus on what they do best—create a great food product.”
Since launching in 2019, Revolving Kitchen has helped more than 50 business owners achieve their dream and expand their food business.
Recently launched is what Shin calls the “future of food” in Dallas: a batched online menu concept that allows customers to order from multiple restaurants, satisfying all cravings with a single delivery fee.
The idea came when Shin and his team were exploring novel ways to create a seamless virtual kitchen. Imagine you’re hanging out with family or friends on a Friday night, and each member of the group has a different craving—Tex-Mex, burgers, salads, Japanese, pizza—all from various restaurants.
With Revolving Kitchen’s new online menu, everyone can get exactly what their stomach desires. The virtual food hall app provides a single platform for customers to order a range of cuisines from multiple local places at one time. And, there’s a single fee for pickup or delivery.
Shin hopes the solution will help restaurant owners avoid getting 30 percent or more of their revenue taken from third-party delivery services. “We created this app to help local restaurants thrive during the pandemic, and at the same time, make it convenient and enjoyable for foodies to order from a wide range of menu options while only paying one delivery cost,” he says.
Meet the innovator
Tyler Shin was featured in Dallas Innovates’ Future 50 in Dallas-Fort Worth in the 2021 edition of our annual magazine. We talked with Shin about how offering modern commercial kitchens and turnkey delivery technologies can help food businesses thrive. Here’s a takeaway:
On responding to COVID-19:
Our immediate response to COVID-19 was a focus on the needs of our local community and our Revolving Kitchen members. Restaurants and caterers experienced a sudden decrease in clientele in March 2020. Brick-and-mortar locations shuttered and social events were canceled. Revolving Kitchen responded and offered reduced rates to food businesses most impacted by the pandemic and provided free Food Safety and Food Manager Certification courses to members of the local food community.
Revolving Kitchen also dedicated resources to meet the demand of delivery-oriented food businesses. COVID-19 accelerated the trend for commercial kitchens purpose-built for food delivery. Fifteen percent of restaurant operators used a ghost kitchen prior to COVID-19 according to the National Restaurant Association. By May 2020 an astounding 51% of operators reported leveraging ghost kitchens for some or all of their delivery orders. To meet the growing demand for our services, we re-designed our facilities and developed innovative technological solutions to help restaurants target online audiences.
On fostering resilience within his team:
The Revolving Kitchen staff consists of a small group of incredible individuals. Our first priority in these difficult times is to make sure our employees’ needs are met. Our staff members have important lives that exist outside of the workplace—and COVID-19 made these lives quite hectic. To foster team resilience we are as flexible as possible to help our employees meet demands that exist outside work—and we developed a rapport with our co-workers so they have the confidence to relay those needs to us.
On what’s next:
We continue to explore novel ways to create a seamless virtual kitchen.
The new Revolving Kitchen platform will streamline food orders and modernize the delivery experience—all while increasing restaurant margins and reducing consumer costs. Buckle up Dallas—the future of food is here.
Read it online
Our fourth annual magazine, Dallas Innovates 2021: The Resilience Issue, highlights Dallas-Fort Worth as a hub for innovation. The collective strength of the innovation ecosystem and intellectual capital in Dallas-Fort Worth is a force to be reckoned with.
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