Introduction: Cloud Kitchen App Development
Cloud services have invited a wave of ease in our lives, whether it’s streaming our movies, storing our photos and documents, or running our businesses. It’s so efficient a service that it is becoming an evident part of the food sector as well. Here we’ll talk about cloud kitchen app development.
Yes, I am talking about Cloud Kitchens. Facilities exquisitely built for producing food for home delivery. These kitchens also go by the name of virtual kitchens, shared kitchens, and ghost kitchens.
Yes, it’s nothing new and you’re partially correct. The pizza industry introduced home delivery a long time ago and Chinese restaurants have been making the best of food delivery for almost a decade. But the changes in user habits and the advances in technology have made it possible to create successful delivery-only models.
This blog offers insights on how a cloud kitchen is different from a conventional restaurant offering delivery and the benefits associated with it. So, read-on!
How does a Cloud Kitchen Function?
A joint space that is shared by one or two or dozens of restaurants that have created delivery-friendly menus and items can be considered a cloud kitchen. It must be noted that cloud kitchens are centralized commercial food production facilities.
Cloud kitchen can be a single restaurant running multiple brands, all operating under one roof, or the kitchen can outsource various purveyors who would make use of the facilities in exchange for a commission with the kitchen. You can imagine a large warehouse having mini-restaurants, each receiving its orders directly from customers.
The menus of cloud kitchens are optimized for quick delivery and ease of production. The warehouses are generally big spaces that are available on the outskirts of a town. Cloud kitchens offer convenient parking and waiting areas for drivers, screens that offer real-time information to monitor orders, check-in places to enhance quick driver-pick up. Everything is designed in a way that reduces the production time and promotes fast delivery for the customers.
Cloud kitchens are the best examples of how tech can run an entire business. They are a part of your life and the on-demand food delivery channels like Uber Eats, Doordash, or Grubhub. They make prominent use of user data that helps them learn what food item is most ordered in which neighborhood, what hours of the day receive the maximum orders, and the likes. For example, the most ordered item between 11 PM – 2 AM near college campuses is Hot Wings.
Cloud kitchens have now started adapting advanced services to support more effective food delivery practices. The user data they analyze is also helping them design software that decreases food waste and increases per meal economics. They also enhance delivery coordination and ease mass production.
Business Models Hosted by Cloud Kitchens
Cloud kitchens can have various business models. One can create a delivery-only model by adding a brand name to an existing kitchen or restaurant or you can create a multi-virtual kitchen hosting facility that houses multiple brands.
Let’s take a sneak-peak at how various cloud kitchen models differ from each other.
Connecting your Brick-and-Mortar Restaurant with a Brand
The restaurants that were solely dependent on the in-house dining business are making the best use of the delivery-only business model by adding them to their current in-house offerings. This way they could carry in-house dining and delivery from the same physical location.
The menu they offer can be a combination of their current and a new menu or it can be an entirely different menu. For example, a Chinese restaurant can offer a delivery-only pizza service using the same kitchen facilities or it can offer takeaway gyros for pick-up.
This model looks convenient due to the pre-installed facilities in the kitchen and ready to access physical location, but it also has some drawbacks. The foremost being that the kitchens are not specifically designed for delivery, hence the orders can get sidetracked when the restaurant has too many in-house customers. It can also disturb the dining experience for in-house diners. The constant in and out of delivery drivers. The constant tension of offering quality service to both in-house and home delivery customers. The two businesses can get in the way instead of supporting each other.
Designing a seamless workflow is the main challenge for this model. This can be viewed as the basic cloud kitchen model. A step-up to this model is what we mean by a real cloud kitchen.
A Complete Virtual Kitchen
When the cloud is an exclusive consumer-facing side of a kitchen, it accounts for a real cloud kitchen. Dedicated cloud kitchen spaces can solve many of the preceding problems by targeting different niches and brands and extracting the best results by providing quick delivery.
Each brand is a mini-restaurant by itself and the business model is designed in a way that can run a delivery-only kitchen housing one or more than one of such facilities. The front end of the virtual kitchens always appears independent to a customer making an order, but in actuality, the food production is happening at a multi-restaurant supporting facility.
One needs a kitchen space with adequate facilities, a licensed brand or concept, their presence on a delivery app, availability of ingredients, delivery supplies, and coordinated labor to run a virtual restaurant. A cloud kitchen is the equivalent of all the operational needs supported by a virtual restaurant.
Concept of Shared Cloud Kitchen
A cloud kitchen can offer further business opportunities in itself. A perfect way to increase your profits using the same concept. Entrepreneurs have figured out this new monetization model that can help them earn more by renting large kitchen space to multiple-restaurants, a sort of co-working space for various food producers.
Choosing this business model would feel more like a landlord rather than a food producer. But as the space is large, naturally, it would need more hands to assist and provide services for the brands who rent your space. The most prominent services that one needs to provide in these models are security, pest control, equipment maintenance, and the likes. Dishwashing, clean supplies, small wares, chemicals, etc., are some additional services that you can provide.
Benefits of Cloud Kitchen App Development or Food Delivery App for Cloud Kitchen
The cloud kitchens can make the best of on-demand labor as they don’t have to worry about the in-house service staff, managers, and other important personnel that contributes to a conventional dine-in restaurant.
The dine-in restaurants spend a lot of money on firstly, finding the perfect place. Secondly, if the place is in a prime location, then restaurant owners have to pay almost double the rent as compared to a normal location. And we’re still talking about the exteriority of the shop. The cost of designing an attractive interior space is a challenge in itself.
The above-mentioned expenses almost get nullified in ghost kitchens. In addition to this, you can save on other ingredient costs by bulk ordering them for several brands operating from the same kitchen.
Increase in Efficiency
Cloud kitchens are custom built. They make efficient use of the space available by designing spaces to batch prep ingredients that are most frequently used for several different menus. They prioritize their kitchen design in a way that increases the speed of preparation and handing them to the delivery drivers.
Data Analytics & Real-time Application
As per consumer behavior and demands, cloud kitchens can optimize their internal processes, ordering, and staff scheduling. As cloud kitchens are tech-dependent, changes can easily be mapped at any time. Cloud kitchens make way for an optimized business model where you can adapt as per demand and increase or decrease margins. Analyzing user data plays an important role in making future predictions.
One of the best things about cloud kitchens is that one can make any changes in the menu or operating times. The changes made would in no way alter the user experience. Available data can also be used to decrease food waste as it offers you a chance to regulate your food preps and ordering process.
The convenience of cloud kitchens is so overwhelming that it also allows one to experiment with a ‘brand’ or a ‘cuisine’ specific to a particular season. For example, you can offer delicious poutine and soups in the winters and healthy salads in the summers. This would help you make the best of the seasonal demand, aware users of your services, and add additional revenue to the bucket without any downturn.
Low Marketing Budget
Marketing is one of the costliest expenses in promoting any new service. A newly opened restaurant also needs tons of marketing so that customers learn that such a place exists. Virtual kitchens can get a head start in terms of marketing themselves on delivery apps.
Delivery apps also charge restaurants to increase their visibility on their apps. But that cost is still pocket-friendly as opposed to paying for conventional marketing practices.
Biggest Players Ruling the Cloud Kitchen Game
As the cloud kitchen scene has started to gain popularity, entrepreneurs want a big slice of the fresh pie. The business holds a lot of potentials and so investors are not afraid to make an early-stage investment. Some of the key players ruling the market are several well-known high-profile venture capitalists.
Kitchen United is a joint venture created by the former executives of Mcdonald’s and Taco Bell. The kitchen received initial funding of 10 million USD led by GV, which is the investment fund of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. To your surprise, they’ve recently received another 40 million USD in its initial funding. With the unwavering support of the tech giant Google and its experienced founders, Kitchen United has the potential to become one of the prominent players of the virtual kitchen world.
Virtual Kitchens Co
Healthy funding of 15 million USD from super angel investors Andreessen Horowitz and investment firm Base10 Partners, has made it possible for Virtual Kitchens Co. to formally launch itself. They already operate many delivery-only kitchens in San Francisco and have plans to start a dozen more in the bay area.
One of the first platforms to observe a physical move in the cloud kitchen space was Doordash. The aim was to help restaurant brands and so the first kitchen was opened near Redwood City. They helped many known brands like Chick-fil-A to scale their businesses’ delivery side.
The kitchen targets the affluent residential locations of Palo Alto and Menlo Park. The location has been strategically chosen to enable delivery for restaurants that weren’t able to provide delivery previously.
Doordash has started this interesting experiment. What’d be furthermore interesting to see is if other leading delivery platforms follow their lead.
Cloud Kitchen Vs Regular Kitchen – Difference
A proper dine-in restaurant requires ample space in a well-known location that holds high footfall for visibility. Because if you’re already fighting for space and options with nearby eateries, it’s going to slow your growth. Other important factors like parking space, zoning laws, layout planning, safety approvals, and much more are to be taken into account while developing a dine-in restaurant.
An optimized kitchen space with adequate facilities is all a cloud kitchen needs to function at its best.
Cost of Property
The rent at prime locations is already touching the rooftops. Meanwhile, some restaurants also think of buying the space they want to use to get rid of certain limitations that come with rented spaces. The cost of buying a commercial space to open a restaurant is way too much. Plus, such a space holds high-risk. For example, if your place doesn’t receive the warm welcome it’s expecting or if an outbreak like COVID – 19 hits the world, then your investment will incur great losses.
Cloud kitchens are generally rented spaces or in many cases shared spaces. In other cases, the space is pre-rented and equipped, something similar to a fully-furnished apartment where you just have to take your clothes and you’re all set.
The working staff required for both the restaurants is different for both the models. Cloud kitchens have a clear advantage when it comes to staffing. The waiting staff alone costs quite a healthy sum. In addition to this, the housekeeping staff would charge you and don’t forget the most important cost i.e. the salary of the head chef and the associate chefs.
Other Operational Cost
The operational cost for a kitchen includes packaging, dairy, grocery, gas, and other such expenses. The operational cost of a kitchen will highly depend on the number of cuisines that a restaurant serves. Hence, the cost varies for different brands.
The operational cost for a dine-in restaurant is going to be more as they need a constant supply of vegetables, dairy items, and might also need some cold storage facility to stock other items. This accounts for a dedicated amount that would be needed for a dine-in restaurant to function well.
One of the other prominent expenses in today’s era that can be counted under the operational cost is the need for a website. A website helps you promote your services, boosts your sales, and builds trust among your customers.
How has the Concept of Cloud Kitchens Become a Trend?
The concept of cloud kitchens is almost a decade old. The rising rents in the city’s prime locations and increasing demand for high-quality food gave birth to these delivery-only channels called Cloud or Ghost Kitchens. In 2013, the Green Summit Group was among the first ones to open a cloud kitchen in New York City. They’ve spread across two cities comprising four locations. Since then many new start-ups have transformed into established cloud kitchens. And as we stand at the end of the decade, many new venture capitalists are pouring money into this new market.
This trend has been ignited by the coming of age millennials who want quick delivery of food with no human interaction. This trend will inevitably get more pronounced as the following generations who are already prone to the internet and smartphones enter the marketplace. The cloud kitchen is looking forward to drawing future trends such as kitchen automation and drone delivery. The exponential growth of cloud kitchens can give cloud kitchens an added advantage of lowering the cost furthermore.
How to go About Creating your Successful Cloud Kitchen with Mobile App?
Order Management & POS
Having a POS that allows you to integrate with different tools and runs on the cloud is a boon to have. Another important piece of software is an order management system that would accumulate all the third-party orders in one place, as quickly as possible.
Ovens, racks, storage facilities, vessels, and other electrical items are the most essential part of creating a cloud kitchen. An efficient kitchen would promote faster preparation and quicker delivery to customers.
Having a license from the food authorities of your state or city is a must for running a cloud kitchen. For example, food chains in India have to acquire a license from FSSAI and need to have a GST registration to do trading and for other safety purposes. You can take help from any fellow restaurant owners or agents that can complete this jargon before you start on your exciting venture.
There is much essential personnel that contributes to the smooth functioning of a virtual restaurant. Running a restaurant means functioning under high-pressure situations and still delivering the best results. You’ll need people that can be efficient with both. Here is a list of people that are of utmost importance to a cloud kitchen.
Delivery partners or your delivery fleet.
The cloud kitchens are delivery-only places. Hence, packaging holds unique importance for the customers.
Your eye-pleasing packaging will help your customers learn how much you care about the food and how you go about handling it.
If your serving sides or sauces, you must use a separate container for them.
Use proper vehicles with a mounted sturdy apparatus to store the food. It should keep the food warm or cold as per the type of cuisine over long distances.
Another thing to keep in mind to avoid sogginess is to design packages that allow the packed food to breathe.
Features to consider For Food Delivery App Development
The most essential features that you can include in your app are divided into two parts.
1. Customer Features
2. Restaurant Features
Sign in/ Sign up
Secure Payment Gateway
Registration / Sign in
Adding and removing food items
Technologies We Use to Build Food Delivery App for Cloud Kitchen:
Technology is going to be the backbone of your app. Tech is what would connect you with your potential customers. Therefore, you can create an online landing page and a mobile app to manage your orders.
Creating a web and mobile app is a huge task in itself. You’d require a combination of so many skills to build an application. If you’re not so good at dealing with technical jargon you can hire a professional IT service company like ‘Technource
’ who holds considerable experience in building on-demand apps.
You can create a mobile app using native technologies like Java or Swift which would get you apps for the Android and iOS platforms. Creating apps using native technologies can get a bit time-consuming and costly. But the apps built using native techs are sturdy and secure.
You can also build mobile apps using cross-platform technologies like Ionic, Flutter, or React Native. They offer a similar UI/UX as native technologies but can be built using a single code base. It consumes less time and as a result, is more budget-friendly than native techs.
Other tech inclusions are in the form of secure payment gateways, order tracking, advanced search options, a bot-equipped communication channel that could be made with optimum use of AI, and much more.
Food Delivery App Development & Technource
Technource offers its app development expertise in both native and cross-platform technologies. We also offer web development services
using the MERN
tech stack. Two of the most renowned tech stacks with robust functionalities.
Having a decade-long experience in the on-demand app development
service sector, we’ve become experts in using the preceding technologies and creating client-specific software solutions. We offer our services at the most budget-friendly rates across the globe.
Do you have your hands tied with a tight budget? Don’t worry! We also offer a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) development. Some of the most successful apps we use today like Uber or Instagram made their way to the market with an MVP. You can easily create an app with minimal but core features that will help you test waters in the real market. In today’s times, a user can respond in unprecedented ways to any app that makes its way to the market.
We use Agile-Scrum methodology to go about our app development process. ‘Agile-Scrum’ allows us to deliver timely results to our clients while maintaining absolute transparency in the development process. The clients can map our progress at regular intervals and provide their inputs on the same.
We have hands-on experience with 500+ delivered projects. Hence, we are competent for any type of challenge you throw our way. Our team of developers, QAs, designers, and project managers are enthusiastic individuals who are always on a learning curve constantly converting their limitations into opportunities.
Our goal is to transform human lives by using optimum tech. If you share the same vision give us a call at the earliest.