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CLOUD KITCHENS: THE NEW NORMAL POST-COVID?

With the entire Covid-19 pandemic the foodservice industry has taken quite a hit. Low demands, social distancing norms and declining revenues have pushed many restaurants to operate at low capacity with some even shutting down permanently. Even with the lifting of lockdown, the rebound is expected to be gradual. With these current industry woes, cloud kitchens emerge out as great options.

 

So what are cloud kitchens?

Simply put, a cloud kitchen, also known as a ghost kitchen or catering kitchen, is an online food production and delivery service. They do not have brick-and-mortar dine-in areas and consist of shared kitchen space with culinary staff preparing meals that are then delivered to customers generally via third-party integrations.  In a cloud kitchen system, staff receives an order virtually through an online ordering system, or a third party’s, and the kitchen prepares the food. When the food is prepared, a delivery team delivers it to the customers. Faasos by the Rebel Foods, Biryani by Kilo, Freshmenu, are some of the popular cloud kitchen chains.

How can cloud kitchens be a solution in the times of a pandemic?

As the new social norms have propelled the masses to be more virtually active and limit socio-physical interactions, cloud kitchens provide just the right alternative. It allows the customers to order and enjoy restaurant quality food in the comfort and convenience of their own homes. This reduces the chances of exposure to the virus of both, staff and consumers. The ease of getting food delivered at a reasonable price and in a certain time is an added advantage.

Cloud kitchens, generally, operate with much less back end staff than dine-in restaurants. Adhering to social distancing norms and maintaining hygienic practices gets much easy.

Cloud kitchens can eliminate traditional restaurant’s overhead costs. In a cloud kitchen scenario, businesses can rent kitchens away from the city centre, which can help reduce real-estate cost. Also, it does not need fancy interiors, hospitality, staffing and training and renovations. This brings down the total cost of opening a cloud-kitchen business.

The cloud kitchens can eradicate other influential factors related to foodservice such as bad service by limiting interactions between staff and consumers, putting the whole focus on food.

It can also enable existing restaurants to expand their customer base.  Employing a cloud kitchen model can give restaurants the ability to expand their delivery business other than their physical locations in a much cheaper and faster way.

Third-party food aggregator apps can ensure efficient marketing. They typically take a percentage of sales in exchange for a marketing platform, logistics and above all, a pool of customers.

With the government also encouraging takeaways instead of dine-ins, cloud-kitchens must ensure good hygiene practices and adhere to the highest standards.
As Churchill once famously said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste. “The present pandemic has definitely impacted the world terribly, but it has also opened a plethora of opportunities. Now is a good time for cloud kitchen organisations, not only as a substitute but also an emerging trend.

To read more about cloud kitchens, click here

To read more about post COVID food trends, click here.


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