What Is A Cloud Kitchen Anyway?
Ordering food online or through an app is becoming more and more common. According to Statista.com, the food delivery service in North America is expected to grow by 11.45% in the coming years and is expected to be valued at US$9.95bn by 2026. Part of this market consists of brick-and-mortar restaurants while another portion is filled with cloud kitchens. What are Cloud Kitchens and where does their future lie? Here’s a look.
What is a cloud kitchen?
A cloud kitchen is a commercial facility built to prepare food for delivery, exclusively. Like a factory, a virtual restaurant or ghost restaurant, prepares food for customers who have ordered through an app or online to have food delivered straight to them.
In these facilities, you can find more than one restaurant operating and renting out the food production space. Often situated in out-of-town industrial complexes, cloud kitchens can also have designated waiting areas for drivers and are designed to prepare the food and get it out the door quickly.
The benefits of cloud kitchens for owners
Cloud kitchens are entirely dependent on technology. One advantage of this is that they can use the data accumulated and gathered via food delivery apps like Doordash and UberEats to streamline what they offer.
Data can show what food is most popular in certain neighbourhoods, and at what time of day the demand is greatest. Because of this, a cloud kitchen, also known as a dark kitchen, can hire staff on-demand and scale up and down to meet their needs.
In addition, cloud kitchens can offer:
● Lower overheads
● Increased efficiency
● Less money spent on marketing
The benefits of cloud kitchens for consumers
What’s in it for the consumer? With increased digital offerings, consumers get access to more food choices in their area at potentially lower prices. Cloud kitchens also allow consumers to access the food they want, where they want it.
The disadvantages of virtual kitchens
There are some caveats. Hiring on-demand employees can help your bottom line but sometimes this can make motivating staff difficult. The culture of a restaurant is lost in virtual restaurants, with no customers waiting at tables nearby. Staff isn’t interacting with clients for tips and so working in a cloud kitchen can feel more like working in a factory. In order to counteract this, cloud-kitchen owners may find they need to raise salaries or hire more permanent staff to reach consistent quality of food preparation.
In addition, relying on third-party apps for orders and delivery can incur high fees and cut into your profit margins.
The future of cloud kitchens
As the population ages, the need for cloud kitchens is expected to grow as more Millenials and Gen Zs gain disposable income. And there are more changes. Emerging technologies are leading to robot kitchens. The demand for cloud kitchens looks bright and the future virtual-friendly.