It’s not wrong to say that today’s world runs on the cloud. We store our photos on the cloud, we stream shows and cinemas through it and we also run our business through the cloud. Have you ever imagined you will also be ordering food via cloud? Yes, cloud kitchen has turned this imagination into a reality.
Why and how did this happen?
Most businesses couldn’t survive the heavy jolt thrown by the pandemic. Businesses had to succumb to its pressure and face the brunt of remaining shut for a long period as a result of the lockdown. Restaurants were no exception. They were forced to close down their dining areas even after the lockdown was lifted, mainly to contain the spread of the virus. As a result, delivering food became the prime source of income for most restaurants and hotels. And this situation is what gave rise to what is called the ‘cloud kitchen.’
What is a cloud kitchen?
Cloud kitchens, also known as virtual/ghost/dark kitchens are commercial facilities, purpose-built to produce food specifically meant for delivery. In other words, they are delivery-only outfits, which do not offer dine-in. Basically, they rely only on online orders that are usually placed through online food aggregators.
Coming to the best part, these cloud kitchens are tech-enabled. What do I mean by this? Since cloud kitchen takes and delivers orders with the help of food delivering apps and platforms, they take the help of these smart apps and platforms to gather data insights on what type of food a particular neighborhood consumes a lot and at what time. These kinds of insights are indeed helping food entrepreneurs to deliver the food the customers want and scale their business success.
And as technology is evolving, the different delivery apps today are integrated into one big portal that now offers additional services. This in turn is helping food entrepreneurs from managing multiple orders to everything from smart food purchasing to coordinating delivery.
Cloud kitchen as a business model
There are different cloud kitchen business models that food entrepreneurs today are relying on based on their needs and budget.
Now, let’s look at the different cloud kitchen business models.
1. Independent cloud kitchen
This is a business model, where one brand owns or rents a kitchen space for just cooking and not dining. These restaurants usually focus on one type of cuisine and rely on different food delivery partners or food aggregators to get food orders and deliver them.
2. Shared/Co-working/Aggregator cloud kitchen
Picture this – a large warehouse with numerous, mini cooking stations of stainless steel prep tables, hood vents, stoves, ovens, and sinks, each with its own orders coming in direct from customers. The only difference is, you will be receiving these orders via the food delivering partners that you have tie-up with.
To further elaborate, the delivery aggregators – realizing the potential of the online delivery market are now offering empty kitchen space with all the necessary infrastructure that a restaurant business can rent. Basically, restaurants can use this kitchen to cook food, which the delivery partner will deliver to the customers. This kind of business model will have multiple restaurants cooking under the same roof and hence the name – shared cloud kitchen model.
3. Multi-brand cloud kitchen
In this business model, multiple brands under one parent company will share one kitchen, thereby, cutting costs to a very great extent. Also, each of these restaurants is cuisine-specific and caters to different customer needs – while sharing the same kitchen space along with the others.
4. Outsourcing model
This business model lets a restaurant outsource almost any or all the processes except the final finishing touches. In other words, all the processes from preparing the food to delivering the food can be outsourced. However, the restaurant’s chef needs to do the final touch before the food goes out for delivery.
To sum up,
Cloud kitchen offers you many advantages like:
- Low operational costs
- Affordable business capital
- Easy staff maintenance since the staff number is less, and
- Most importantly – better efficiency 🙂
Cloud kitchen is inspiring the creation of new technologies to make dining a safe experience for people across the world. One such technology is the AI-enabled contactless self-checkout platform. These platforms are helping restaurants carry on their day-to-day operations with zero contact and 100% safety.
In other words, this offline to online technology is designed in such a way that customers wouldn’t need a physical menu card. All they have to do is just scan the unique QR code that’s on the table through their phone camera. And this code will automatically direct them to the menu page so that they can place their order digitally.
The best part is, the customers don’t even have to download any app. All they need is their mobile phone camera and they are good to go! Likewise, only time will tell us what other new technologies, tools, and apps are getting created as you are reading this blog. Fingers crossed!