Restaurant dark kitchens in Russia: key trends in early 2020

Impact on restaurant growth, key regions fueling the rise of dark kitchens, and dark kitchen distribution by cuisine

Dark kitchens were mentioned as one of the 2020 FMCG trends by Nielsen Russia experts (you can read our post with an overview of top 2020 FMCG trends here), but how exactly is this trend developing in Russia? You’ll find answers in this post, summarizing key findings from a recent Data Insight survey of Russian restaurants (read it in Russian here).

Dark kitchens in Russia: an overview

Yandex.Eats was offering food delivery from dark kitchens as early as 2018. An article published by Inc. Russia mentions data from Aton, a Russian investment group, on the growth rates of the Russian food delivery market, quoted as 30% growth between 2017 and 2018.

In 2019, Kommerstant reported that McDonalds was planning to open a dark kitchen in Russia quoting a surge of orders from Yandex.Eats and Delivery Club as the primary reason to do so. According to an HSBC survey of Russians ordering food delivery services that was referenced in the article, 23% of respondents used Delivery Club to order food, 14% were using Yandex.Eats, 24% were using other apps, and 39% contacted restaurants directly. McDonalds opened a dark kitchen in Moscow in 2020.

But what about Russian restaurants across Russia: have they adopted this practice, and how did it influence their growth? Data Insight conducted a survey of restaurants on that topic. Keep reading for a summary of the survey results.

Restaurants with dark kitchens in Russia: key information

Data Insight experts lists the following key information in their survey summary:

  • Out of restaurants offering food delivery services, 7% have dark kitchens
  • Japanese restaurants are the leading type of restaurants with dark kitchens (11% of all restaurants offering food delivery, or 7% of all Japanese food restaurants across Russia)
  • In 2019, 59% of restaurants with dark kitchens reported an increase in order volume during the day. For the same time period, only 48% of restaurants without dark kitchens reported daytime order volume growth
  • 50% of restaurants with dark kitchens deliver 75% of their orders, with only 25% of orders made in the restaurant
  • The volume of food delivery orders in 2019 grew by 48% for restaurants with a dark kitchen, and by 23% for restaurants without one

Restaurants with dark kitchens in Russia by location

Restaurants with dark kitchens, offering food delivery (%), by population

Restaurants with dark kitchens, offering food delivery (%), by population. Source: Data Insight

In Russia, dark kitchens are trending in cities with population between 500,000 and 1 million people. Data Insight experts mention the following reasons:

  • in large cities, most people prefer going to a restaurant instead of having food delivered
  • in addition to consumer preferences, high real estate costs in large cities, and especially in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, might make dark kitchens less profitable than opening a new restaurant
  • in small towns, people are more likely to cook at home and not order restaurant food at all

Out of the regions leading the way with adoption of dark kitchens by restaurants, Moscow region and Krasnoyarsk have the highest number of restaurants with dark kitchens.

There are several reasons for this trend for Moscow region:

  • ease of delivery from Moscow region to Moscow proper
  • delivery of food to people who work in Moscow and like specific restaurants, but live outside of Moscow
  • similarly, people who live in Moscow region, but work within Moscow proper, are likely to place food orders in the evening and on weekends

These reasons can also explain why not many restaurants offering delivery in Moscow are in a hurry to open a dark kitchen in Moscow.

 

Restaurants with dark kitchens, offering food delivery in Russia, by region (%)

Restaurants with dark kitchens, offering food delivery in Russia, by region (%). Source: Data Insight

Restaurants with dark kitchens in Russia by cuisine

Restaurants with dark kitchens in Russia, by cuisine (%)

Restaurants with dark kitchens in Russia, by cuisine (%). Source: Data Insight

These past Russian Search Marketing posts can help you find out more about the trends and habits around food consumption in Russia:

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