Manjari Singh, Co-founder, The Chhaunk. She did her B.COM from Delhi University. She is a serial entrepreneur having more than 10 years of experience, currently running 3 successful businesses. Manjari launched The Chhaunk, a cloud kitchen startup, this year.
The second wave of the pandemic did hit the country badly, but the cloud kitchens started merging as a strong backup allowing restaurant operators to simplify their operations and become much more efficient.COVID-19 has entirely changed the food and beverage (F & B) sector and has pushed it towards cloud kitchens faster than we ever imagined. This was a new trend some years ago but today cloud kitchens are considered as the reality and the safest. The pandemic has turned out as a catalyst for the food delivery business. However, things are getting back to normalcy but still in the cloud kitchens we won’t see any stagnation but definitely witness an upward trajectory. The pandemic forced the restaurants to close down their dining areas, it was seen that many cloud kitchens are firing up for business. The pandemic has undoubtedly triggered the rise of cloud kitchens, which are also known as ghost restaurants or dark kitchens. According to a report by RedSeer Management Consulting, cloud kitchens are set to be a $2 billion industry in India by 2024, up from $400 million in 2019.
Starting a new restaurant has always been a glamorous ambition, those in the business of food will definitely agree. That is the reason many of them have learnt that cloud kitchens are easier to launch and keep running. The credit goes to low entry costs, lower rents and low capital expenditure. It is extremely sure that when things get back to normalcy the business of food delivery will only increase. Food delivery has totally accelerated the adaptability of delivering food from outside and it has made a lot of customers more comfortable than they ever were. On the supply side, a lot of restaurants that did not adapt the culture of food delivery have now started curating new menus that are solely suitable for food delivery. Hence the convenience and choices for customers has rapidly increased. The restaurant is considered to be an old age vintage car, used for showcasing and branding. But, cloud kitchen is its fast-paced futuristic- high-tech cousin. The cloud kitchen model contains multiple brands under one mother kitchen umbrella. Consumers will have multiple cuisines at one stop.
Amalgamation of AI and ML in Kitchens
Technology integration solves the problems of customers which is the future of the food tech industry. Live feed of the kitchens where your food is being cooked, details on the sourcing of ingredients, special instructions, etc. are going to help in enhancing customer experience and retention power through technology. Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) will also gain prominence with features such as voice-command for ordering food are expected to hit the industry really soon. The power of AI can be used in many ways due to its automatic nature and recommending customers as per their tastes and likes on various dishes while ordering.
The rapid growth
The concept of cloud kitchens is indeed as gigantic in the food industry as the very discovery of fire is. Our food consumption has itself witnessed a radical change, leading to an amazing and flourishing food service industry. We have gone from getting delivered the wholesome home cooked meals to fancy dinner. That has paved the way for dining out once a week to ordering in thrice a week. This is where convenience has trumped every level.
Saves Time and Money
Talking about the youth, they usually prefer to order from outside instead of just cooking on their own or going out to eat to save time and money. This is again another reason that gives momentum to the Indian cloud kitchen restaurant industry. It is definitely generating better profits despite not having a walk-in storefront due to the growth of the online food delivery market in India.
Investing in Cloud Kitchen
The cloud kitchen model has the lower organization consumption and less working expenses. A basic 30-seater restaurant in an above-average area will cost around Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1 crore. But the other side of the story is different, a cloud kitchen is easy to set up at just half of the cost, at Rs 20 lakh-Rs 25 lakh.
Impact of Globalization
Especially, in Metropolitan cities, there are food outlets which deliver breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a monthly subscription package at the desired time adding much more satisfaction to their customer’s life. Globalization has just impacted our eating habits as well. Consumers have started to move from regular Indian and Chinese cuisine to global as well as regional food. Customers have now become more focused on eating healthy and trying out new varieties. The disposable income of the consumers has also increased with the increase in urbanization. Now people have started to spend a significant amount on luxuries which also includes eating from restaurants. At the same time, it is seen that they are also affording the luxury to have restaurant-quality food at home.
Safety and hygiene are the top priority
People out there are now more concerned about safety and hygiene. The cloud kitchens are maintaining hygiene and following all the Food Standards. A Cloud Kitchen can be successfully run through a small and unappealing location; however, they totally ensure that FSSAI Guidelines are followed to avoid any legal issues. Acquiring the new customers is definitely the most important aspect for any business to grow, retaining existing customers is another important factor.Cloud Kitchens tend to blow up the money in marketing and acquiring new customers by offering them exorbitant discounts and offers.
With the online food delivery market in India rising, the trend of cloud kitchen restaurants is definitely here to stay. Coupled with the changing consumer attitude cloud kitchen restaurants are exclusively the direction in which the restaurant industry in India is heading and growing.