Known as dark, virtual, cloud or ghost kitchens, these restaurants never see customers. Instead, orders are only available through delivery apps such as Uber Eats, Menulog and Deliveroo. What’s most intriguing about these restaurants are their location and their shared facilities.


Purpose built for chefs and drivers

While Australians were enduring the national COVID shutdown, they couldn’t go out to eat, but they still wanted restaurant quality food. As a result, on-demand and takeaway food orders flourished. This trend is continuing even though most states and territories have lifted restrictions on dining out.

An Asia-based organisation was watching this phenomenon and decided to expand its operations into Australia. They focus on leasing purpose-built commercial kitchens to chefs, caterers and takeaway chains to use as virtual kitchens. These buildings can accommodate 14-2000 commercial kitchens on one site. Each kitchen uses sophisticated technology to accept and process orders. They also have dedicated areas for drivers to collect each order.


Coming to Australia

While these kitchens may be virtual, they still need to comply with Australia’s stringent planning and food safety laws. So when the Asia-based company decided to enter the Australian market, they knew they needed assistance to navigate these requirements. Having engaged Northcroft on similar projects in Singapore, the company contacted Northcroft’s Australian office.

As an independent, quantity surveyor consultancy, Northcroft has extensive experience assisting fast food and retail chains. As a result, they were already familiar with the local planning requirements, food safety codes and how to optimise space to ensure each kitchen layout was efficiently designed. This really simplified the whole process for the client.

As a starting point, the Northcroft team introduced their client to high-quality, local consultants, architects, builders and contractors.

During the design phase, Northcroft provided value engineering expertise as well as advice on the most beneficial procurement method for the project. Having an independent assessment of their procurement options was highly beneficial as the Asia-based client needed to balance the conflicting demands of timing and budget. Northcroft were also able to recommend the most optimal type of building contract for the client to use.


Beyond planning

As an experienced team of quantity surveyors, Northcroft’s advice and assistance continued beyond the project’s design and planning stage. They managed every aspect of the project for the client which included:

  • Monitoring each phase of construction to ensure the budget stayed on track
  • Providing progress and CapEx reports in formats that are highly compatible to the client’s financial reporting requirements
  • Evaluating any variation to ensure it was correct and represented value for money
  • Ensuring all contract conditions and specifications were adhered to
  • Performing a final account and obtaining the Occupation Certificate


As part of the defect liability period (which is usually 52 weeks after project completion), Northcroft will again assist the client with any defect liability claim. This will ensure all identified building defects are properly followed up and rectified by the Contractor.

Northcroft is a leading quantity surveying consultancy with offices across the world – all with high levels of local knowledge. Their areas of expertise include multi-site and franchises where they provide clients with greater certainty and reduced risk.

Are you considering a similar project?  Get In touch.