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How A 700-Unit Legacy Food Brand Unlocked Ghost Kitchen Opportunities By Ditching PowerPoint Recipes

October 22, 2021

Food’s transformation is showing no sign of slowing down, with both fast-growing startups like Salted and established food brands like Wendy’s and Red Lobster launching ghost kitchen locations both now, and in the coming years as consumers spend more money on delivery and off-premise.

For legacy restaurants and food brands, however, mastering the flexibility required to adapt to a rapidly transforming industry is more challenging than one would expect.

We partnered with a 700-unit food brand to prepare the operation and culinary teams for their entrance into the future. They can unlock the opportunity, the brand needed, and one glaring thing: clean recipe data.

In this story, we cover:

  • Why legacy food brands are ill-equipped to get into the ghost kitchen game
  • The #1 data constraint that most legacy food brands face
  • How to give your brand the best chance at thriving in the competitive food data era

If this industry giant can overcome this towering barrier to entry, anyone can.

The Ghost Kitchen Non-Negotiable Legacy Food Brands Can’t Seem to Nail Down

The promises of ghost kitchens are clear. Spin up new concepts, launch in new markets, and scale your brand footprint—in record time and at an unprecedented low startup cost.

Here’s where most established food executives get this wrong: ghost kitchens do not enable agility and speed—they require it as a prerequisite, then add fuel to the fire. A slow giant that launches ghost kitchens without first reimagining and focusing their operations, recipe data, and culinary collaboration is doomed to fail.

This established company we partnered with is savvy, successful, and has experienced solid growth for decades. They had the talent, industry know-how, and capital to enter the ghost kitchen market.

But they had to master a new level of agility first.

Also Read: 6 Things To Look For In Food Costing Software For Your Food Business

You Should Never Send Recipe Data to Anyone, Ever

The surprise of discovering major food businesses run their culinary operations on software from the 90s and PowerPoint presentations never goes away. First, the data models of these legacy tools are never built to thrive in a food production or restaurant setting.

But more importantly: the concept of ‘sending’ recipe data is outdated altogether.

  • Sending implies stakeholders don’t have on-demand access to the data they need
  • Changes and version history with static documents are a recipe for confusion
  • Cross-collaborating with documents that must be sent back and forth is just terrible

Our partner brand used a combination of Slideshow Software and old database software that looked as dreadful as it performed. The culinary team was emailing slides documents to every single store individually for new and updated recipes. As you can imagine (and have likely experienced), this was a productivity nightmare with severe consequences:

  • Slow, often chaotic go to market with new items and promotions
  • Lost and missing allergen and nutritional data between stores
  • Inability to calculate food costs in real-time
  • No insight into all the data—just a giant trash pile of it

There was no way around it. If this company wanted to enjoy the benefits of ghost kitchens, they would have to slay the dragon. They needed to completely rehaul their recipe management system.

Also Read: The Food Data Mastery Checklist

The Smarter Alternative to Sending PowerPoints

Effective food data systems have four key attributes that minimize confusion, speed up cross-collaboration, and unlock new insights:

  • They pave a path toward your goal. Good food systems draw a line straight from a system function to your desired end result. For example, a system that connects vendor data should naturally enable you to calculate that vendor data for real-time food costing.
  • They eliminate competing systems. Good food systems do not have multiple versions circling around in inboxes or physical binders. They act as a single source of truth that has no need for duplicates.
  • They’re designed to adapt to new information. Good food systems are capable of evolving alongside business models and objectives. Every single food costing or recipe planning spreadsheet we’ve seen—even the best—fail at being adaptable.
  • They’re accessible to the right people. Good food systems give all stakeholders the right level of access on-demand, so there’s never a delay in sending information across departments or regions.

Yes, enterprise resource planning software exists, but it’s never capable of handling the complexity and nuances of food production or the restaurant industry.

That’s why we set out to create a whole new kind of food data infrastructure for food businesses that want to build effective food systems and master every part of their culinary operation—from innovative recipe development, to Open API, cross-team collaboration, and award-winning UI.

When our new partner found Galley’s recipe management platform, it was clear we were the right fit to help them rebuild their food data workflows to achieve the agility required to launch ghost kitchens effectively.

Giving the Culinary Team Food Data Superpowers

This 700-unit legacy food brand worked with Galley to create a recipe database that could eliminate the opportunity cost behind the overly manual and outdated process of sending recipes—and the results were obvious from day one.

  • No more powerpoints, but an online platform. Now that culinary, operations, finance, and everyone else can log into Galley and see all the relevant data, their email inboxes are a lot less chaotic.
  • Superfast go-to-market for new recipes. A single recipe database means everyone can access new and updated recipes in an instant, and getting the right approvals to push out updates is simpler than it’s ever been.
  • Always up-to-date vendor pricing. Costing recipes is instantaneous and no longer requires digging up data from a dozen sources and spreadsheets.

This legacy brand is charging full steam ahead into the ghost kitchen era with a recipe data model that’s easy to build on, manipulate, and collaborate with. It’s already streamlining recipe creation, costing, and training—and soon it’ll enable rapid ghost kitchen deployment across the country.

Smarter recipe management is the gateway that makes new opportunities like ghost kitchens possible. It’s the solid foundation, the flexible building blocks, and the one place everyone goes to accomplish the same goals.

Want to see how it can transform your food data?

Schedule a quick demo of Galley today.

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