Over the years, the restaurant model has remained relatively unchanged. Restaurants have typically consisted of a kitchen in the back and a dine-in seating area in the front. For more convenient options, customers would head to take-out and delivery restaurants where food was typically quicker to prepare, cheaper, but lower quality.
In recent years, there has been a dramatic shift in food technology, which affects where people eat their food. One report suggests that our consumer needs towards F&B have changed. It showed that more nutritious, casual, and convenient food options from transparent and authentic brands are becoming a more popular option. Striking a balance between quality, taste, and convenience is no easy task for restaurants, though, and has only become truly possible thanks to food technology advancements.
Third-party delivery platforms are just one example of the many innovations that have come about to satiate F&B customers.
Online delivery platforms
Foodpanda, GrabFood, and a multitude of other food delivery platforms have taken Malaysia by storm. In 2021 alone, it is predicted more than 1 billion Ringgit will be spent on online food delivery platforms in Malaysia. While these platforms’ popularity has demonstrated the change in consumer habits, the pandemic has certainly done nothing but expedite the process.
These platforms generate their revenue through partnerships with restaurants and chains across Malaysia. Their drivers or riders serve as couriers between the restaurant and the consumer, delivering food no different from what would typically be served to a dine-in customer.
Under measures introduced following the pandemic, many restaurants have had no choice but to resort to food delivery services as their main source of income. The benefit for consumers is that this has enabled them to increase their choices when it comes to ordering food. Smartphone apps and other platforms optimized for online food procurement and delivery have made this possible.
While this model works wonders for customers, it isn’t without its drawbacks for the restaurants and kitchens trying to stay afloat in difficult times. As a relatively new field, very few restaurants have streamlined their operations for online food catering. In effect, they’re operating with their old procedures and infrastructure under a new context. As a result, there are countless inefficiencies and obstacles for them to overcome. For many restaurants in Malaysia, marginal profits are being squeezed by reduced incomes and locked costs.
However, new developments in the form of cloud kitchens aim to resolve these issues.
The opportunities presented by cloud kitchens
The concept of a cloud kitchen is by no means something new. However, they have been a niche solution until now, and few brands enjoyed their benefits. Nowadays, thanks to developments in food technology, more and more caterers are reaping the rewards of cloud kitchen technology.
So, what exactly is it that makes cloud kitchens such an exciting opportunity for restaurants and caterers?
1. Expanded profit potential
Cloud kitchens are usually managed and run by an operating body such as Kitchen Connect. These operators bear all expenses related to factors like construction, permits, and renovations, thus reducing the overall upfront cost compared to a physical outlet. On top of this, the lack of a need for a fully-fledged front of house team helps keep restaurants’ operational costs lower.
Together, these factors lead to increased profit margins for those who embrace the usage of cloud kitchens.
2. Capability to serve more customers
Within a traditional restaurant setting, the size of your dining area limits how many customers you can serve at any given point in time. However, for a cloud kitchen, this limitation is removed. The only constraint in terms of the number of customers you can serve is within the speed you can cook and the number of orders you receive.
3. Overall flexibility
Opening a cloud kitchen is a considerably shorter undertaking than opening a new brick-and-mortar establishment. This, along with the benefits of renting the space, means that the ability to scale up (or down), is considerably less hassle than the bureaucratic and logistical challenge of a physical establishment.
4. Access to modern technology
For our kitchens, the highly thought out and planned space operates around a single tablet at the centre of the workplace. This enables restaurants to consolidate and effectively organize their orders via a single platform. In addition to this, food technology has significantly transformed the process of running a successful restaurant. Kitchens now have access to insightful data about their business’s performance, which helps further optimize and streamline their space usage and the food they cook.
Food technology has redefined the F&B model. Changing habits and the recent pandemic have solidified the importance of food technology in food production and delivery for the foreseeable future.
Cloud kitchens and third-party food delivery platforms are the pinnacle of this development. Together, they provide businesses with an exciting opportunity to move away from their traditional physical constraints and reach new markets and demographics.