March 19, 2024

CPU's vs. Dark Kitchens: Which is best for you?

What is a Central Production Unit (CPU)? 

A Central Production Unit, more commonly known as a CPU, is a centralised kitchen facility where food is mass prepared and distributed to varying locations. CPUs host various food establishments, from catering services to food product businesses, like bakeries, restaurants, and meal-prep companies. Any business in need of a space to produce, prepare, or cook food can do so within a CPU, and CPUs have a series of key features that make them incredibly useful.


The function of a CPU is to provide consistent and efficient food preparation and delivery methods. They utilise industrial-grade equipment and regulate processes to produce large volumes of quality food quickly.  


With more efficient production comes a series of cost cuts. CPUs provide increased storage space for ingredients by operating in one central location; therefore, businesses can benefit from purchasing items in bulk. Additionally, the utilisation of inventory tracking minimises waste and looks to increase sustainability efforts. 

Potential for Growth 

Producing and preparing meals in a centralised location allows larger batches of food to be dispersed to other smaller locations, stores, or distributors throughout a city. With a singular stop for quality control and efficient production, CPUs significantly increase a business’s ability to grow and expand. 


While CPUs prioritise efficiency, they also offer flexibility in menu customisation. CPU users have the space and equipment to craft new recipes that cater to new regional palettes, dietary variations, and unique shifts in food trends without having to adapt to a hectic and bustling kitchen environment.

What is a Dark Kitchen?

A recent trend in the evolving culinary industry is the idea of dark kitchens. Dark kitchens, also known as virtual kitchens or ghost kitchens, are cooking facilities that focus solely on takeout and delivery orders. Unlike a traditional restaurant or takeaway venue, dark kitchens do not provide a storefront or dine-in option. With the increase use of food delivery apps, dark kitchens are becoming a more popular option for those looking to produce food solely for apps on the rise, like Deliveroo and Uber Eats. Here are some significant characteristics of dark kitchens:

Digital Approach 

Dark kitchens focus on online ordering and delivery services, connecting them to the digital realm. Technology facilitates the ordering, payment, and delivery processes, offering customers quick and convenient service. 

Flexibility in Location

Dark kitchens’ are “unseen” locations and their lack of central retail shops allow them to be placed anywhere, typically in unconventional locations like basements or warehouses, such flexibility in location lessens large expenses for smaller businesses. Those using a dark kitchen can even target specific geographic areas based on popularity and demand.


Since dark kitchens specialise in making food solely for delivery, they allow for scaled-back operations that not only cut back on costs but also limit hectic and overcrowded work environments. Dark kitchens maximise distinctive space while reducing cost, exertion, and stress. 


Like CPUs, dark kitchens often craft specific culinary concepts to compete in the popular food delivery market. A simplified and focused menu, accomplishable through the convenience of a Dark Kitchen, allows those in the industry to target niche customer desires and partake in optimised kitchen operations.


CPUs are ideally suited for use in catering or production kitchens. They provide commercial-grade culinary equipment in a fully licensed kitchen environment for any kind of food product or meal preparation required. A CPU is best for those who cater to a vast range of food service establishments or who prepare their food in bulk. Dark kitchens are best for those who wish to focus on delivery and online click/collect orders.

Research shows that online food delivery markets will likely reach almost £332 billion by 2028, and CPUs and Dark kitchens are essential to this inevitable growth. Whether you need a CPU, a dark kitchen, or a combination of the two, Oya Kitchens, can help you find your perfect kitchen space.

Oya Kitchens provides a cost-effective, efficient, and sustainable approach to all of your kitchen space needs.

For more information or to view our available CPUs and dark kitchens on our marketplace, click here.