Cloud kitchens have become a growing phenomenon in the F&B industry as they offer restaurateurs a whole new way of doing business in these unprecedented times. Cheaper than traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants and faster to set up, they are quickly becoming the go-to choice for new restaurant owners who don’t want to take a huge financial risk, along with leading industry players that are seeking to expand to new markets, but want to play it safe.
If you are intrigued by the prospect of a cloud kitchen and wondering how to start one in Malaysia, we at KitchenConnect have got you covered.
Picking a suitable location
When launching a cloud kitchen, one of the first things to consider is the location as it can be imperative to the success of your business. Many cloud kitchen suppliers like KitchenConnect have numerous facilities, meaning there are always plenty of choices. Before deciding on the best location for you, be sure to do some research on the local area and ascertain what types of cuisine are missing or underrepresented. If you fit into that category, you stand a good chance of becoming the market leader for that particular type of food if you play your cards right.
On the other hand, if you just jump right in and realise that you have an endless number of competitors, it’s going to be incredibly difficult for you to make a splash and attract customers to your eatery.
Maintain a good brand image
Brand image is crucial to the success of cloud kitchens as their entire business model revolves around customers finding them online. How exactly do you maintain this when you are starting a cloud kitchen? It boils down to a couple of key areas:
- Logo – Your logo is one of the defining features of your restaurant, so it must look good and be memorable. You want people to know your logo right away in the same way that McDonald’s is instantly recognisable. Since your logo will be used across food delivery apps, packaging and on your social media accounts, it’s best to ensure that it’s nothing less than perfect.
- Packaging – Just like your restaurant’s logo, the same care and attention needs to be put into your packaging as you want it to stand out and be a talking point amongst your customers. You also want them to post your packaging on their social media and entice other people to order from your eatery, which will not only boost sales, but profits too.
Connect with people
Since cloud kitchens primarily rely on online delivery orders, they have to develop an online presence that enables them to connect with their customers on a more personal level. Some of the best ways to accomplish this are through the following methods:
- Social media – Since everybody is on some form of social media, it is imperative that you are active and posting regularly. However, don’t fall into the trap of posting the same, repetitive content over and over again. This will do more harm than good. Instead, focus on deep diving into the backstory of your eatery, your loyal staff, and the food you create. Be sure to also highlight any special promotions or discounts that are coming up or taking place.
- Work closely with influencers – Many people all over the world follow influencers, and this is no different in Malaysia. Since this particular group of people have a huge fanbase, it’s in your best interest to reach out and partner with them. Encourage them to post a food review of your delectable delicacies from your restaurant and create a promotion that is specifically centred around them, so that their fans will come flocking to your eatery.
- A great website – All F&B businesses should have a website that provides useful information. Among the things to include are an online menu, an about us page that delves into the background of the business, and a blog section that delivers captivating content about the food industry.
- Regular newsletters – Newsletters may sound like they belong in the past, but many people still look forward to receiving them from their favourite companies in order to keep on top of what is happening. When preparing your newsletter, make sure you include new menu items, any promotions, and other key information that you feel people should know about your business.
- Online reviews – Many people leave reviews about their dining experiences online, which subsequently influences others to order from that restaurant. In order to show that you value customer feedback, you need to take the initiative to respond to all reviews left, no matter if they are positive or negative.
Keeping track of everything
In order to stay on top of everything and ensure you keep your customers happy, there are a few key things you need to focus on:
- An up-to-date menu – If you make any changes to your menu or change the pricing, for example, it needs to be reflected across all platforms where people can access it. The last thing you want to do is have customers order something and find out it’s more expensive than they thought or no longer available.
- Exact waiting times – When people order from your restaurant, don’t provide false promises of getting their food to them faster. Just be honest and upfront because customers would rather wait for top-notch grub instead of eating a substandard meal.
- Revolutionary tech – How do you stay up to date with the influx of orders that come your way when operating a cloud kitchen? Simple, you utilise the latest technology. Cloud kitchen providers like KitchenConnect offer this to all businesses in our facilities so that they can keep track of all orders, no matter how many delivery platforms they have partnered with.
The number of employees required
When starting a cloud kitchen, one of the biggest challenges is deciding how many members of staff are needed to ensure your business can run smoothly. The best way to tackle this is by starting small and hiring 2-3 employees before adding to that number when you get more and more orders coming through. Even if you hire more chefs, your staff costs won’t even come close to matching that of a brick-and-mortar restaurant as they have to spend on waiters, bartenders, general managers, etc.
The advantages of using a cloud kitchen
Businesses operating out of cloud kitchens have a number of advantages over traditional dine-in establishments, including:
- Lower costs – Since cloud kitchens don’t require as many staff as normal restaurants and pay a fraction of the rent and equipment costs, the overall investment required to launch one is significantly lower. In Malaysia, the amount needed to open a cloud kitchen is approximately MYR 39,000, while a brick-and-mortar eatery will require an investment of around MYR 750,000.
- Quicker launch time – Since cloud kitchen providers like KitchenConnect have spaces that are ready for businesses to move into, all that needs to be done is bring the equipment in and make a few minor adjustments here and there. Due to this, cloud kitchen businesses can open their doors in around 4-6 weeks, while normal restaurants have to wait approximately 24 weeks as there are a lot more steps and procedures they need to go through.
- Food focused – Since cloud kitchens are virtually based on a delivery-only business model, they can focus a significant portion of their attention on ensuring their food really hits the spot. Dine-in restaurants, on the other hand, have other facets of their business that need to be looked at, including staff and the customers frequenting their premises.
The disadvantages of running a cloud kitchen
While the benefits of operating a cloud kitchen may look very enticing, there are a couple of disadvantages too. These include:
- A period of adaptation – Since cloud kitchens are likely to be a new business model for most F&B companies, there will be a period where they have to work out a few issues, which will require time and money.
- Lack of face-to-face interaction with customers – With cloud kitchens taking all orders online, they won’t have the opportunity to ask diners how their meal was in person and have to rely on reviews left on the internet or social media.
- People wanting to go out to restaurants – Many people have the urge to go out to restaurants and eat instead of ordering meals at their house or office. Due to this, it can be difficult for cloud kitchen businesses to educate customers about the benefits they provide over traditional eateries.
Get started in a cloud kitchen today
With the necessary information on how to start a cloud kitchen, you can now mull over whether this type of business model will suit your restaurant.
If you want to launch a cloud kitchen in Malaysia, please fill out the form below or contact us.