What are Ghost kitchens?
First things first. Food in the so-called “Ghost Kitchens” are not cooked by Ghosts. They are called so primarily because of their deliver-only model.
The credit goes to the growing popularity of food delivery apps like Swiggy and Zomato, which has led to a surge of such kitchens in India, which are also called “virtual” or “cloud” kitchens.
Some prefer to call them “dark” kitchens as in many cases, you may not even know that they exist.
Did you know that popular eateries like Haldiram’s, Chaayos, Keventers, to name only a few, have set up cloud kitchens in partnership with Zomato?
And that is the reason why you get to order food from these eateries even though their restaurants may not exist.
“We started this model in March 2018, when we realized that while a lot of budding entrepreneurs are setting up new restaurants and cloud kitchens, the pace of setting up new kitchen infrastructure has been lagging behind the demand for them,” Mohit Sardana, Chief Operating Officer, Food Delivery app, at Zomato told.
“Today, zomato is present in 50+ cities with 700+ kitchens that are already operational,” Sardana added.
One factor that has worked in favor of the food delivery apps is the data they have about consumers’ preferences. Analyzing these data allows them to gauge the nature of the demand of food a particular area generates.
Armed with these data, the food aggregators can confidently approach a restaurant business for cloud kitchen partnerships in new areas. Which is likely to generate handsome profits for both parties, according to people familiar with the way these partnerships tend to forge.
Swiggy launched its cloud kitchen initiative “Swiggy Access” in 2018 and since then it has created over 1,000 kitchens for its restaurant partners. Through “Access”, restaurant partners can test new markets and expand intra and intercity, with no rent or deposit charged for the premises/infrastructure.
Swiggy shares valuable insights not only regarding existing customer preferences but also on unmet food choices with partner restaurants, thereby helping them fulfill the demand-supply gaps.
Restaurant partners are also able to leverage Swiggy’s insights to improve their food quality through consistent customer feedback and optimize their kitchens for factors like stock planning, demand forecasting, preparation time and order edits.
Swiggy said that it is committed to working with the restaurant partner community. To bring in the necessary confidence and control to ensure there is no compromise in the safety of food.
The food delivery apps added that it mandates all restaurants and cloud kitchens operating on the platform to possess a valid Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) license. Additionally they conducts hygiene audits across the restaurant partner network with credible third-party audit firms.
Zomato said that one of the biggest advantages of virtual kitchens is the relatively low investment and business risk. It has set for itself “high safety and hygiene standards”.
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