A Cloud kitchen business has pros and cons, and proven track records give you the confidence to venture into an amazing food delivery concept immediately. These days, we store our photos, stream our movies, and even run our businesses in the cloud. And more often, whether we realize it or not, it’s also where we order our food. Maybe you’re thinking: “this is nothing new,” and in a way, you are right. Chinese restaurants have been making the most of delivery for decades. And the pizza industry has practically built its business around optimizing for delivery. But moving to a delivery-only model has been made possible recently by technological advances and changes in consumer habits. It offers certain advantages over offering delivery from a traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant.
Cloud kitchens are centralized licensed commercial food production facilities where anywhere from one or two to dozens of restaurants rent space to prepare delivery-optimized menu items. One restaurant may run multiple brands, or virtual restaurants, all operating under one roof, or the kitchen may be run like an incubator, shared by different purveyors. Picture a large warehouse with numerous stations (mini-restaurants) of stainless-steel prep tables, hood vents, stoves, ovens, and sinks, each with customer orders.
Cloud kitchen menu items are optimized for ease of production and reliability of food quality upon delivery. Often physically located in out-of-town industrial complexes, cloud kitchens may offer driver parking, driver waiting areas (often with screens to monitor order times), and check-in stations for seamless driver pick-up. All are designed to get food out the door and into the customer’s hands as fast as possible.
Cloud kitchens are uniquely tech-enabled. They take advantage of your smartphone’s now ubiquitous food delivery apps, such as Zomato and Swiggy. In doing so, they use large amounts of data to determine what types of foods to produce for specific neighborhoods and when the demand is likely to be greatest. For example, tandoori chicken tends to be popular between 12 pm-4 pm near college campuses. This data is fueling rapid adaptation and optimization, almost in real time.
As the technology has matured, additional services have emerged to aggregate the various delivery apps into one portal for easier production of multiple orders and delivery coordination, smart food purchasing, and production software for decreased food waste and increased per-meal unit economics. We have only seen the tip of the iceberg of innovation in this space.