Restaurants have been in the news for several reasons lately. Locations have been being shut down, delivery drivers have been laid off, and the restaurant industry is still in an ever-developing flux after the changes that were implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these changes are leading to an entirely new method of running restaurants.

The Future of Franchising Restaurants

A company out of Las Vegas has come up with a unique concept for furthering the future of franchising restaurants. Kitchen Podular is a company that has conceived a unique method of running and expanding restaurants, and it comes from a concept that gained significant popularity during the early days of the pandemic.

Source: Kitchen Podular

During the first days of many city’s shutdown orders, deliveries from restaurants boomed, and with them came a new model of running restaurants: ghost kitchens. This is when one brand or company operates out of another restaurant’s kitchen in order to create additional profit for both the building owner and the company owner of the secondary restaurant.

Ghost Kitchens Are New…And Confusing

Ghost kitchens that operate out of restaurants can be confusing for customers, though. Additionally, delivery and takeout are some of the fastest growing arms of business for many restaurants, and there have been many franchises that have struggled to adjust to this new demand.

Source: Kitchen Podular

Kitchen Podular, first conceived of and launched in 2013, came up with a solution that handily addresses a good number of these issues. The company provides off-premise solutions to restaurants who are looking to expand their offerings without compromising in-person functionality and service.

Building Pod Restaurants

The beauty of the company – and the mission they tout – is in the way that they go about providing service for their customers. They build and provide fully customized pod buildings that, once filled with equipment, operate as a mini-kitchen that are built much like pre-fab homes and other mobile properties.

Source: Kitchen Podular

The pod can be customized to the needs of the restaurant, and Kitchen Podular is unique in its dedication to sustainability in their business model and their materials. While the pods they build look similar to shipping containers, they are far from it; their building materials contain no hazardous materials, and are built with the future in mind, both for the businesses and for the planet.

Economic and Ecological Benefits

The beauty of modular franchising for businesses is multi-faceted. Yes, there is an appealing component in being able to outsource delivery and takeout beyond a main restaurant building, that cannot be denied. However, the benefits go beyond that.

Source: Kitchen Podular

The size of these pod restaurants means that more can be built in less space than a traditional restaurant. Where a standard restaurant might have to source up to an acre of commercial property in order to operate, most pod restaurants require less than a quarter of that, meaning that more of them can be built in less space, and require less electrical support to run the building.

The Ability to Move Is Great

Additionally, these modular buildings have the additional perk of being able to be picked up and moved at any given point, for approximately as much effort as moving a food truck. In this way, modular restaurants are a cross between mobile homes and food trucks, and the benefits that come from such great potential mobility cannot be overstated.

Source: Wikimedia/Harrison Keely

In the future, your favorite restaurant could be seasonal, moving from city to city with business and the wind. Modular restaurants make this concept entirely possible, as well as giving businesses the opportunities to expand their offerings beyond what can simply be reached with a standard storefront.

Major Corporations Taking Notice

Major corporations have already started to take notice of this movement and desire on the part of consumers, and have started to operate within the mode. Little Caesars is one of the first major corporations to work with Kitchen Podular to open new pod locations in December of 2023, and the potential growth of the company could offer a leg up in a changing world for years to come.

Source: Wikimedia/Mrmiscellanious

The modular concept offers a unique method of franchising to major corporations such as Little Caesars. Opening a pod unit as an expansion of an existing franchise would be a significantly less expensive method of expansion, as well as providing jobs and income for individuals in any city that these locations are opened.

Some Downsides

Of course, as with all things, everything is not positive. While there are a great deal of upsides to this particular method of business – notably the significant improvement in sustainability of building restaurants and providing for consumers – there are downsides that need to be considered.

Source: Kitchen Podular

This particular business model, especially considering the potential mobility, could have massive effects on zoning laws in cities and states across the country. Business owners would have to carefully consider locations not only for business potential, but also for the friendliness of local zoning laws and city councils. It could add an additional layer of complication to the business of opening a restaurant, though there’s no certainty of that.

A Rapidly Expanding Niche

The pod movement, and Kitchen Podular in particular, is rapidly expanding. Kitchen Podular has started to expand beyond simply restaurants, looking to partner with hotels, retail, gas stations, and many other industries that could benefit from this type of expansion.

Source: Twitter/X/elonmusk

It’s even possible that this particular method of building could expand into house ownership. Elon Musk has started to explore this idea, supporting a company that is building tiny homes. It’s entirely possible that Kitchen Podular could expand into this industry in the future, adding to the future of sustainable living and working in America.

The Future of the Restaurant Industry

The future of the restaurant industry is bright, but only if they look to make changes and expand when the opportunities present themselves. Choosing a more sustainable option when it comes to expansion and business is one way that companies can make themselves friendlier to consumers and governments in the future, and Kitchen Podular – and other companies like it – are offering the opportunity to do just that.

Source: Wikimedia/PPR 19

Many companies and owners are set in their ways, so which companies will thrive under this new model remains to be seen. It’s a fascinating look at the way business grows and evolves with a changing market, and the only way to go for many of these companies and the businesses that they serve is up.