Cloud Kitchen is definitely the new buzz words among the Food and Beverage fraternity. The business forecast for Cloud Kitchen has been highly ambitious however post COVID while dine in has had a sharp decline Cloud Kitchen is still catching attention of investors and restaurateurs.
For an existing restaurant chain moving towards cloud kitchen is considerably an easy shift as they already understand the challenges one faces while scaling store front. However, to maintain the freshness which is delivered from the Kitchen to customer’s plate becomes tricky.
The mushrooming Home Chefs would have definitely become more confident in last few months and setting up a cloud Kitchen seems just a step away for few. However, for new players in the delivery business and the seasoned existing restaurateurs there are definitely some do’s and don'ts that one must keep in mind while setting up or scaling your Cloud Kitchen or Dark Kitchen.
Here are Some Do’s that one must follow while setting up:
1. Product for the Audience - The product has to be well thought and curated keeping in mind the location and the Target Audience. Basics like average customer spend and controlled Food cost will play a huge role as it shall slowly become a highly price sensitive market.
2. Cost of setting up:While building a kitchen looks easy however it has its own challenges and hence professionals must be used to build your kitchen with strong emphasis on Plumbing, HVAC and Electrical work. Spending cautiously on correct material specs will save you a lot of headache while running it and definitely contribute to your earnings. Cloud Kitchen / Dark kitchen are not visible to customers unlike some restaurants where show kitchens or live kitchens are interactive and guarantees a sense of hygiene to the customer. When you not being watched making sure your hygiene levels are up to the notch one must follow Strict measures to ensure no Lapse in Hygiene levels. After all money saved is money earned. All this has to be kept in mind while setting up.
3. Discovery and Delivery:Any online business revolves around two very important
Words Discovery and Delivery and sadly the same eats up a thick part off the Bottom Line . It’s of utmost importance in your list to make sure you are not leaking cash in these two areas as it may hurt more than one can think of.
4. Instagramlikes SAFE Packaging - You will often see the dishes being delivered with DIY instruction or deconstructed. The same takes away the fun of visual dining which means no picture before you eat. However, good packaging will definitely break that barrier and add to the visual dining experience . The packaging has to be of good quality , safe and custom made for the dishes while also being overall engaging for the customers. Tasty food may not be enough incentive to attract the customers when there are so many brilliant chefs competing with each other.
5. Slow and Steady - While scaling up looks easy as it’s just a kitchen not getting carried away is critical. Having one kitchen and then moving to ten more with one central kitchen or commissary is a giant leap in terms of operation challenges. One must tread waters carefully as Dining out is still fairly nascent in India and so is delivery.
While the Do’s generally feature in all “To do lists” or Action plans, there is generally no plan to avoid the DON’TS. The below list of don’ts will definitely help you avoid making some mistakes that could hurt.
1. Size matters:As a first timer, it’s crucial to start slow and not get a big kitchen space.
2. Don’t hire generalists:Don’t hire generalist rather look for professionals who have understanding of the nuances of Kitchen operations, especially when you are signing up for a space.
3. Do not over spend in building the kitchen while also; don’t compromise on basics and standards. Do remember it’s not a Master Chef India kitchen.
4. Do not try doing everything - Must remember you are not a multi-cuisine restaurant in a mall. Keep your menu short and crisp. Do make sure the food reaches at the minimum half an hour after it’s cooked to your customer’s dining table.
5. Don’t do single brand Kitchen:One must use the set ecosystem to curate different product identity as it’s easily doable and will help scale organically on the discovery platforms.
While all said and done, if your food is delicious you shall surely win the battle in the longer run. Rest assured, the competition is definitely going to be tough in the years to come!