Cloud cookers – the future of the food industry after the COVID-19 pandemic

One of the industries most affected by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic was the food service industry. Instead of going out to eat, more and more people tend to order food delivered to them. This makes experts predict the “cloud kitchen” model will become the future of the food industry.

According to CNN, unlike in-restaurant kitchens, “cloud kitchens” or otherwise known as “ghost kitchens” will provide a central space where restaurants prepare dishes exclusively for ordering services. carried away. Because there is no need to attract passers-by, these cloud kitchens often have lower rental rates than restaurants because just a warehouse or parking space can open the kitchen.

Some restaurants may share a shared kitchen space or a shared kitchen may operate under the control of companies that have a cooking contract directly for the restaurant or food delivery service.

Inside a Kitopi cloud kitchen. Photo: CNN

The Kitopi company in Dubai operates this model. Kitopi is said to be the largest cloud stove supplier in the Middle East and is in the process of expanding its model to the US and UK. This company prepares food for about 100 restaurants across the Middle East, including international restaurant chains like Pizza Express. With over 1,000 employees, the company produces more than 200,000 meals a week, raising more than $ 80 million in funding since its inception in 2018.

“When a brand joins us, they give us their recipes, train us to cook and then we cook from start to finish. It’s like the franchise model. “By partnering with Kitopi, restaurants save money on infrastructure,” explained Kitopi co-founder Saman Darkan.

In addition to cloud kitchens, new technologies are used to make eating and drinking safer. Specifically, AI-powered self-pay platforms like Fastor help restaurants perform daily activities without contact. Customers only need to scan the QR code to view the menu and place orders online without contacting the sellers or chefs.

Founder Darkan said that in every city where Kitopi operates, there will be a central kitchen where most of the food preparation is prepared. After that, the prepared ingredients will move to smaller kitchens, located near residential areas. For example, baked goods and pre-cut salads in the central kitchens. After that, the ingredients are delivered to satellite kitchens and finished the dish before being delivered to customers.

Cloud cookers the future of the food industry after the COVID 19 pandemic | Live

Staff prepare the ingredients in the Kitopi kitchen. Photo: CNN

Market research firm Euromonitor International estimates that by 2030, the cloud kitchen market could be worth $ 1 trillion. US-based CloudKitchens has received more than 400 million in fundraising. Another US company, Reef, processes food from thousands of parking lots, while Indian company Rebel Foods operates cloud kitchens for more than 3,000 online restaurants in 35 cities.

When COVID-19 first appeared, Kitopi saw a slight decrease in orders. The company fired its employees and suspended new operations in the US and UK for “market uncertainty” and to protect “the health and safety of its customers”.

In response to the pandemic, in May, the company launched Shop Kitopi – an online grocery store offering food items across Dubai. But founder Darkan believes COVID-19’s impact on cloud kitchens will eventually turn out to be positive.

“Distribution is on the rise, when COVID-19 happens, the trend goes down slightly but then rises again,” said Mr. Darkan. He explained that more and more customers are choosing home delivery to avoid the risks of eating out.

Michael Schaefer – research manager at Euromonitor International – says global food delivery revenue has more than doubled between 2014 and 2019. “We will run more tests on kitchen kitchens. rattan, allowing to serve the needs of more delivery ”, Mr. Michael concluded.

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