The global crisis caused by coronavirus has led to revolutionary changes in the way the restaurant industry operates. With restaurants and hotels being shut, delivery kitchens, ghost restaurants or cloud kitchens are increasingly becoming more relevant. Even five star chains across the country are counting on delivery operations to survive the crisis. The Oberoi Bengaluru, the Taj Group of Hotels, The Park Hotel and many other top chains are delivering their most popular dishes to customers’ doorsteps in the wake of the ongoing nationwide lockdown. As India’s largest cites have been shut, there is likely going to be an even sharper dip in sales than seen in 2009. Cloud kitchens thereby are becoming the need of the hour.
Let’s throw some light on how cloud kitchens are being used by F&B brands to sustain their operations in this crisis.
How Cloud Kitchens Gain A Fresh Perspective Amidst The Global Crisis
It’s quite an unusual scenario across the world. Everyone from large restaurant chains to smaller standalone restaurants is opting for online deliveries. What’s interesting is that the leasing of space for cloud kitchen requirements or using online platforms for deliveries have never traditionally been a part of large restaurant chain’s core offerings.
The Oberoi Group’s Bengaluru property has been taking advance orders. However, The Park Hotels have priced their offerings at a mere Rs. 250 for appetizers. Partnering with major food aggregators like Swiggy and Zomato has been quite an unusual move for the chain.
“We are getting a reasonably good response in Navi Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata. We are getting almost 10 to 15 orders in a day and that is gradually rising,” a spokesperson for the group said.
Another campaign from the Taj Palace, New Delhi carries the caption, “From our kitchen to your home” focusing on dishes from in-house restaurants, Capital Kitchen and Spicy Duck on takeaway basis. However, the important thing to note is that restaurants/hotels are not going into the bulk deliveries business.
Cloud Kitchens Creating A Social Impact
Several existing delivery only brands as well as restaurants launching their own cloud kitchens are trying their best to aid the government of India in feeding the needy. Along with the underprivileged section of the society, cloud kitchen networks like FoodCloud are ensuring that their working staff is paid well in advance and are given any additional help that may be required.
“We can provide khichri, chole chawal or rajma chawal, which is wholesome and fast-to-cook, and will feed the poor,” Vedant Kanoi, founder of Foodcloud says, adding he is trying to get in touch with the Delhi government to get things moving.
Rajesh Sawhney, co-founder of cloud kitchen platform InnerChef, said: “The poorest must be fed. Cloud kitchens can be converted into community kitchens should governments enable it. InnerChef has offered all its kitchens on a no-profit basis to the authorities in Delhi, Noida, Gurugram, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mumbai.”
Another cloud kitchen named Mom’s Kitchen is ensuring distribution of extra food to the poorest sections of society that were the most hit by the pandemic.
Gaining Newer Fundings In The Time Of Crisis
Although Cloud kitchens have been in the limelight for quite some time now, their potential to create revenue has suddenly increased multiple fold amidst the nationwide lockdown.
So far, Swiggy has spent about Rs. 175 crores in opening more than 1000 cloud kitchens across 14 cities. This is the biggest cloud kitchen network owned by a single player. On the other hand, Zomato has developed a network of 650 dark kitchens of its own. The aggregator is about to invest another Rs. 75 crores for further expansion of their cloud kitchen operations.
All in all, the cloud kitchen industry is amidst one of its most revolutionary periods of all time. Restaurateurs are experimenting with cloud kitchen models and trying to come up with the one that is best suited for their business goals. With even larger restaurant chains shifting to delivery only models, we are likely to see increased interest in cloud kitchens in the time to come .