Cloud Kitchens, the changing face of F&B and profitability

In conversation with BW HOTELIER, four cloud kitchens in Mumbai (Thaiphoon, Out Of Pao, Missus Sippi, and One Tight Wrap) share more on their offerings, tie-ups with food aggregators, and the future of cloud kitchens. We bring to you part 2 of the feature.

Bringing the taste of Thai streets directly to your home

Providing sumptuous Thai cuisine to their customers, 'Thaiphoon' is satiating the souls that crave Thai cuisine with their authentic and heritage recipes inspired by Thailand's streets. Led by Chef Suriya Preechapiputpong and her husband John Macedonius Fernandes, Thaiphoon incorporates Preechapipputpong's Thai heritage. Thai cuisine, like its culture, offers a delectable amalgamation that renders a delightful experience. Talking about their offerings, John Fernandes, Chef, Thaiphoon said, "We have several exciting offers lined up for our customers as we have been doing surveys to understand what dishes from the Thai cuisine our customers love the most. We will accordingly be adding several new items on our menu and are sure the customers will love these too."

Pav-ing the way with a splendid twist

The experiential delivery kitchen provides unique combinations of pav decorated with international, exotic fillings to offer a delicious farewell to hunger. Commenting on the menu, Dave Malhotra, Co-founder, Out Of Pao expressed, "The idea was to have a simple yet exclusive menu with 10-15 varieties of Pao instead of having 50 different variants on similar lines. We are still trying to figure out our bestsellers. But we take our customers' feedback and improvise accordingly or if they would like any new flavour additions to the menu." 

Serving a refreshing blend of nostalgia 

Missus Sippi brings back the childhood memories in a 300 ml bottle. It offers regional, detoxifying juices, and their mixologist creates unique blends that reflect the taste of distinct cultures and distinct ideas. Expanding their menu with keeping the customers' feedback in mind, Kunal Malhotra, Co-founder, Missus Sippi said, "We currently are not running any particular offers on our menu, the reason being that for the quality that we deliver, we are a very reasonable price. We have many new delicacies that we would like to roll out soon, and we do keep taking constant feedback/suggestions from our customers to learn what they would be expecting from us in the coming future."


Guilt-free pleasure

Out Of The Blue's cloud kitchen offers a range of wraps, salads, and much more. Combining health with taste, One Tight Wrap is where one can enjoy their meals without guilt. Discussing their offerings, Rahul Bajaj, Director and Conceptualiser, One Tight Wrap elaborated, "We come from the Continental and European side of the food business, which covers 40% of the market while the other 60% of the market in India comprises of Indian food. As we Indians are adapting the concept of modernization and western lifestyle, we thought of introducing something unique and giving it an Indian touch. This made us start One Tight Wrap, wherein everything is made using fresh ingredients and are also gluten-free, vegan, and organic. The menu caters to people of all age groups and people from different backgrounds like dieticians, yoga practitioners, etc. We have chocolate wrap cannolis for kids, while fitness enthusiasts can opt for gluten-free, vegan wraps. We have something for everyone. Plus, the price range is also quite reasonable." 


Expanding reach with direct and indirect food delivery

Besides having their delivery riders, 'Thaiphoon' depends on tie-ups with food aggregators to reach their customers. John Fernandes explained, "We deliver our food all over Mumbai and have multiple delivery modes to ensure this. Food aggregators like Swiggy and Zomato help us deliver to customers within our kitchen's immediate vicinity in Andheri. We have tie-ups with delivery specialists and our riders to deliver food to customers even up to the far-flung localities of Navi Mumbai, Thane, and Cuffe Parade."

As far as 'Out Of Pao' is concerned, they also use both the channels (aggregators and their delivery executives) to cover a wider area. Dave Malhotra stated, "Yes, we have tied up with Swiggy and Zomato. But to ensure that we can do deliveries at a faster pace through the entire city, we have our direct delivery channel. We are actively doing half of our daily orders through the direct channel, which is very encouraging."

Similarly, 'Missus Sippi' also uses food aggregators and their direct delivery channel, speaking about which, Kunal Malhotra added, "Yes, we have tied up with Swiggy and Zomato since the very beginning. But to ensure that we cover the entire city at a brisk pace, we have our direct delivery channel. We are actively doing half of our daily orders through the direct channel, which is very encouraging."

Rahul Bajaj concluded, "Yes, we have tied up with Swiggy, Zomato, etc., to ensure we can deliver the food to our patrons as soon as possible without any delay."  

 Cloud kitchen industry will continue doing profitable business

Underscoring the fact that digital transformation had taken place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, John Fernandes said, "Even before the pandemic, we have seen a definite change in customer behaviour, with many preferring to stay at home to relax, unwind with friends, watch OTT movies, and order food at home. With a trend to go digital catching up fast in the country, we expect food delivery, and consequently, the cloud kitchen industry to continue to do a profitable business. The focus has to be on the food; to maintain quality, offer quick delivery, and provide value for money; that is the key to success."

 Cloud kitchen model is here to stay

Having a positive take on this question, Dave Malhotra commented, "The cloud kitchen model is here to stay for a longer duration. Not everyone likes to go out and eat. Also, many people like to order-in regularly and eat in the comfort of their homes. The numbers before the pandemic were also quite impressive, and they keep increasing with each passing day. But to create a balance, we would love to introduce our line of food trucks as soon as things get back to normal or normal adjacent."

 It's not a phase 

Saying that the food delivery mechanism will sustain no matter what the situation will be tomorrow, Kunal Malhotra, stated "We firmly believe that this is not just a phase, but quite an evident change in consumer behavior. Yes, people would start going out once the vaccine is made available, but that wouldn't mean that the food delivery wouldn't sustain. This may come across as a bold statement, but eventually, cloud kitchens will sustain and bring balance to the F&B industry in the coming future."

Newer trends will keep the boat afloat 

"The hospitality industry has gone through a lot of change in the year 2020 because of pandemic and lockdown. During this time, the cloud kitchen industry has evolved on a larger scale since dining-in at restaurants was shut, and the business was largely dependent upon the take-aways. Hence, the takeaway and cloud kitchen business formats have proved to be more profitable during the pandemic. One can break even within six months or a year in a cloud kitchen compared to a restaurant. Strategy, innovation, and constantly coming up with new variants are what will keep it going. Fluctuation, in terms of growth and sales, is there in every market. However, the acceptance of newer trends will keep the boat afloat. Overall, the cloud kitchen model is here to stay for a longer time, even after the pandemic," concluded Rahul Bajaj.


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