In March 2020, when the pandemic resulted in complete lockdown, nobody knew that it would have such grave financial implications. One of the sectors that was badly hit was Food & Beverage, which led to the rise of a viable concept which helped masses enjoy restaurant-like food at home and made it less-stressful for foodpreneurs. The concept is called Cloud Kitchen and experts can foresee it as the future of the food industry.
What exactly does Cloud Kitchen mean?
Cloud kitchen, also known as Ghost Kitchen refers to a place where food is prepared and delivered at door steps by taking orders via calls and online ordering platforms.
What makes it different from restaurants?
The most obvious benefit of a ghost kitchen compared to a traditional restaurant is the lower barrier to entry and lower on-going costs. One of the biggest advantages is the ability to target multiple segments of the market simultaneously. You could be running multiple brands out of the same kitchen, and serving different demographics at the same time, while benefiting from economies of scale across the brands. It also allows for more flexibility. Assessing what’s working, and what isn’t, cloud kitchens can constantly reevaluate what they are offering. All this leads to lower costs, better efficiency and reduced risks. The lack of physical storefront makes it difficult to build a natural fanbase for the brand. There is also a major reliance on aggregators to facilitate delivery making it crucial to develop an independent digital presence. The curator's desire to deliver experience in a box is also a challenge as it relies not only on the packaging but also the caution with which the food is delivered.
Why cloud kitchen is a wise choice in pandemic situation?
The pandemic led to a rise in the number of cloud kitchens because it is one of the most cost-effective means of making profit in the food business. Hrishi Ahirwar and Ankit Aggarwal, owners of cloud kitchen concept, believe that it is all about food and nothing comes between you and food. You don’t need to worry about table management, location, decor, etc, which further saves your business running cost. “The concept also calls for lesser space & staff”, says Hrishi, who is running his business with a head chef and two supporting staff and manages a minimum of 20-30 orders on weekdays.
Apart from cloud kitchens, new technologies are being used to make dining a safe experience. For example, AI-enabled contactless self-checkout platforms like Fastor, which is helping restaurants & other food places execute their regular operations with zero contact and 100% safety. This offline to online technology is designed in such a way that customers wouldn’t need a physical menu card, they can simply use their unique QR code placed on the table to automatically be directed to the menu without even downloading any app, and place their order digitally. And, for people like Tanuj Sahay and Shlok Vijay Ghadigaonkar, whose company Pronto Gourmet Food is widely recognized for providing impactful and creative experiences, things have definitely changed. But this is what life is made of-new challenges and innovations based on them. Keeping all safety protocols in place, he has devised ‘hybrid events’ which offer the best of both worlds – online and offline. After all, things need to be done differently in the ‘new normal.’