What is cloud kitchen and how does it work?
A cloud kitchen is a delivery-only restaurant that has no physical space for dine-in. It relies entirely on online orders placed through online food aggregators or an online ordering enabled website or mobile app.
The flavour of the season, ‘cloud kitchens’ are the rising trend mixed with ingredients, which perfectly represent the booming restaurant industry in the digital age. Eliminating brick and mortar locations, these virtual kitchens focus solely on deliveries and takeaways, minimizing time, effort, and essentially cost.
From efficiency to customer satisfaction, these ghost kitchens provide everything top-notch as it allows restaurateurs to focus only on two things; cooking lip-smacking food and delivering it quickly.
These kitchens operate either through online food aggregators like Zomato, Dunzo, Swiggy or/and have their own website or application through which customers can place their orders. The biggest advantage of this kind of kitchen is that one can start many brands under the same roof directly, aiding in cutting down costs and overheads.
Famous eateries like Chaayos, Keventers, Sarvana Bhavan have cloud kitchen setups in partnership with the online food aggregator Zomato, making their food reachable to customers in areas far and wide. While there are other ventures like Faasos, Behrouz Biryani, and Ovenstory that exclusively function as cloud kitchens; some have their website and while others partner with party aggregators.
It is pretty clear that this is an exciting time for anyone looking to step into this venture and if you are one of them, please remember the below key pointers.
- Investing Right
The first and primary step in the planning process of a cloud kitchen should be crafting the perfect menu while choosing premium raw materials. Using good produce along with it will ensure that your customers receive drool-worthy food to become loyal fans eventually. Investing in the right kind of equipment like ovens, kettles, utensils and dishwashers, everything needs to be in place to accelerate mass production in a timely fashion.
- Optimizing and Accelerating Orders
One of the most difficult aspects of the cloud kitchen is the optimization of orders. Unlike dine-in services where delays are excused, in cloud kitchen, bridging the gap between food preparation and food delivery is crucial as every second matters. Orders need to be achieved with total accuracy within the stipulated time.
Hence, partnering with third party food aggregators like Zomato, Swiggy, etc., who are known for their fast delivery services, come in handy. Since traveling time is not always controllable, timeliness should be a priority from the preparation level where a strict protocol is followed so that orders are ready in due time and customers are satisfied.
- Choosing the Right Tech
Cloud kitchens are 90% dependent on technology. Cloud kitchens need to have a restaurant management system. They require software that will not only accept and integrate orders from different portals but also manage stocks and supercharge inventory. Playing all these roles, Petpooja is the best pos software in the market which enables smooth integration with third-party solutions on one dashboard.
Along with complete control over your menu, it provides access to potent reporting tools that take charge of operations. This ensures that there is seamless functioning of your cloud kitchen business without any delays.
- The Perfect Package
First impression matters; so irrespective of how good your food is, if it’s not packaged well, it will be a fail, ultimately leading to bad customer experience. As an important tool to create your brand image, it is imperative to carefully design and model the packaging that will uphold the standard and quality your restaurant will be known for. Apart from being aesthetically pleasing, it should also serve its purpose of protecting the food from contamination, maintain the right temperatures, and prevent it from spilling during delivery. Adopting environmentally-friendly methods while packing is another way you can showcase your brand values.
- Marketing Managed!
You may have the best food in the world, but if no one knows about it, it’s a complete waste of time and money. Marketing your virtual kitchen the right way is the main source through which you can spread your brand name to your potential customers. So you need to engage your customers wisely and create a strong presence on the internet, especially in the initial days. Using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to communicate offers, talk about your menu, signature dishes, and hosting giveaways is the best way to generate traffic and drive sales. Partnering with local influencers is another way that can help you increase your reach, which will ultimately gain you valuable customers. Putting up stalls in food fests and carnivals also help advertise your presence in the market.
It’s well established that cloud kitchens have great benefits and lesser risks, thanks to the reduction in raw material costs, rise in logistics scale, and strong demographic trends. With vigilance, the right tech, and smart choices, cloud kitchen seems to be a great and successful recipe that will be hard to fail in the coming years!