The food industry took a big hit last year when the pandemic hit. During the start of this year, it has been struggling to recover. However, because of recent innovations in various business models, the recovery has gone a lot smoother.

Many industries were affected by the pandemic last year. One of the industries that the pandemic has heavily damaged is the food industry. It’s estimated that 2.5 million people have lost their jobs, and more than 100,000 food and drink establishments were forced to close permanently. However, this didn’t mean the end of the industry. It just said that it needed to innovate into something that fits more into the times.

Currently, the food industry has taken a broad shift into the digital market. Most meals being purchased nowadays are delivered right to people’s doorstep. Dine-in and traditional restaurants still do exist, but they are rare because of quarantine restrictions. One known business model that has become a billion-dollar industry in only a few years is ghost kitchens.

Ghost Kitchens

These have easily become a billion-dollar industry this year because of their efficient business model that relies on outsourced kitchens to create food for online restaurants. The current market size of ghost kitchens is estimated to be around $43 billion, but it’s expected to reach $1 trillion in the next few years because of how fast it’s growing.

Right now, hundreds of thousands of ghost kitchens are popping up all over the U.S. One hot spot of ghost kitchens can be in New York, where thousands of virtual restaurants exist. Inherently, ghost kitchens can be suppliers to more than one virtual restaurant, making the supply chain flexible.

The key to running a ghost kitchen business is quantity. You need to sell a given amount of meals per day for your kitchen to sustain itself. Given the fact that there is a growing demand for delivered meals, this is an easy task. Once you’ve paid your investments, all you get from there is net revenue. That net revenue can then be invested into more ghost kitchens.

It doesn’t take that much money to start a ghost kitchen, and you can even start by renting commercial kitchens. It’s a simple business model that works well, given the current circumstances we have today.

Meal Kits

These were pretty popular during their inception in 2010, with brands like Blue Apron leading the way. However, since then, the industry has fallen into non-existence, with only a few million subscribers in such a competitive market. But because of the pandemic, there has been a rise in meal kits being purchased online.


Currently, the meal-kit industry is experiencing a rise in customers. More consumers are willing to spend money on meal kits as an alternative to fast food. Additionally, unlike meals from ghost kitchens, meal kits still require some cooking. This means you’re going to see whatever ingredient you’re going to eat later on. Therefore, it’s a better option for people who want a transparent meal and calorie counting.

However, meal kits can be the hardest business to start this year. The business requires investment in many aspects such as app development, a robust supply chain, and customer acquisition. However, if you get past these hurdles, you can easily gain millions of dollars in just a year into your business operations.


These are one of the most reliable business models in the food industry, and it’s booming until now, during the pandemic. What makes this business model so easy to get into is that you never have to worry about its logistics. All you need is to give the necessary investment and a team, and there you have it! Your very own restaurant with an already established brand.

There are many advantages to having a food franchise. It’s easy to start, most brands are already established, and the supply chain is reliable. However, compared to the other business models on this list, franchises take some time before you get your ROI, but it has the most potential to have the biggest ROI.

Currently, there are many food franchises in the U.S., and you can never go wrong with picking one that’s right up your alley. But one of the most famous types of restaurants right now is the restaurant franchise specializing in Mediterranean cuisine. The main reason for this is that there is a great shift to healthy and sustainable food, and Mediterranean food has been known to have these traits, making it a franchise worth investing in.

These three trends are dominating the current state of the food industry. They are leading the way for its and eventual comeback into the future. They are also safe choices if you want to start a business in the food industry today.


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