2020 has proven to be a year full of surprises, as well as the beginning of a new age of fashion trends. One of these is the emergence of dark kitchens, which will undoubtedly be around for a long time. Dark kitchens are quickly replacing restaurant home delivery as the preferred ordering-in option for a growing number of consumers. The most advantageous aspect of dark or cloud kitchens is that it has provided small businesses with an opportunity to enter and test the market. The dark kitchen concept provides a number of advantages that are most beneficial to the industry as a whole. Swiggy and Zomato, for example, did not previously play a prominent role in the F&B business, but they have since grown into key platforms for the expansion and exposure of cloud kitchens in recent years.
The pandemic has burned through countless industries like a deadly wildfire, forcing many businesses to shut down. Among the most affected industries are the food and hospitality industry as people preferred staying home to going out for leisure activities. While this is a bleak situation, sheer resourcefulness has also allowed some types of businesses to adapt and diversify. One of those types of businesses is the Dark kitchen. The pandemic has triggered a shift in the F&B industry in the form of dark kitchens and India has seen a surge of the same in a very short period of time. Browsing through food delivery applications, you can see a number of new players in the market and more are starting to compete in the industry every day.
Jaydeep Barman – The Man Behind The Internet Restaurant Company
With regard to Jaydeep Barman, the tale of Faasos has been the story of a traditional food business that has revolutionized the whole restaurant sector while also providing consumers with an innovative delivery method known as Dark Kitchens. Faasos was never a company that had a digital play from the beginning; the creators had experimented with physical stores but that did not go well, which ultimately resulted in the successful pivot to the internet. In 2004, Barman came to Pune after discovering a newfound interest in entrepreneurship and a yearning for the flavors of Kolkata, which resulted in the conception of an innovative idea. He formed a partnership with a co-worker, Kallol Banerjee, who was also from Kolkata and set out to recreate street rolls from their home city in a quick-service restaurant (QSR) format, inspired by the success of fast-food chains McDonald’s and Domino’s, which had launched in the city in the mid-1990s and were quickly successful.
In 2005, Barman enrolled in the INSEAD business school in France, and in 2006, he moved to London to work for the consulting firm, McKinsey. By 2010, he had advanced to the position of associate partner. After a six-month break, he returned to India with the intention of raising his daughter here. By then, he had learned how to run a business and had planned to expand Faasos throughout India. Faasos began operations in 2011 and by 2014 had 40-50 outlets in three cities. These were offline sites, and 70-80% of them were in the Delhi metropolitan area. These shops were extremely small, measuring about 150-200 square feet, with no seating available due to the fact that it was primarily a takeout establishment. With the introduction of the new brand name, Rebel Foods, the firm rebranded from Faasos to Rebel Foods, which currently includes various brands in its portfolio. As far as the creators were concerned, it was similar to setting up a virtual restaurant utilizing the same infrastructure. Today, they have more than ten brands in their portfolio, according to the company.
Biryani By Kilo – First Biryani Cloud (Dark) Kitchen
In addition to being CEO and founder of SkyGate Hospitality, Kaushik Roy is also the owner of the renowned Biryani by Kilo restaurant. He has more than 22 years of expertise in the foodservice industry, having handled the operations of more than 200 restaurants in a number of categories throughout that time. Aiming to revive the Khansama cooking heritage, Biryani by Kilo prepares and delivers fresh biryani to clients’ doorsteps, each order is cooked individually in natural, handcrafted clay handis. It was in May 2015 that Kaushik Roy and Vishal Jindal decided to go on their entrepreneurial adventure with the goal of launching their own business.
The concept of Biryani By Kilo, developed by the team, was a tremendous hit with biryani enthusiasts since it was new and different. The USP of Biryani by Kilo is that it ‘dum cooks’ new biryani for each order, and then delivers the biryani in the same handi to the client, ensuring that it remains as fresh as possible. A complimentary clay angeethi is also included with each dish, which is used to reheat the biryani in the handi while retaining the smoky taste, thus enriching the whole dining experience. Starting with a modest dark kitchen in Gurgaon, they made certain that they utilized only the finest ingredients and spices as well as only the freshest meats and veggies for their biryanis and kebabs.
The founder feels that biryani is a varied and full dinner that comes in a number of varieties such as Hyderabadi, Lucknowi, and Bengali; that it is particularly well suited for delivery; and that it is a part of India’s cultural history and traditions. BBK intends to launch its own platform as well as partner with food aggregators such as Swiggy and Zomato to expand their distribution network. It is said that the company has been profitable with sales increasing from Rs 86 lakh in 2016 to Rs 48 crore in 2020. They intend to establish more than 150 shops across India in the future years, as well as in overseas markets such as the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, where biryani is a well-known dish.
To know if dark kitchens are really profitable, read here.