Covid Pandemic: How Cloud Kitchens Reshaped Food Industry In Odisha Capital
Bhubaneswar: Amid the COVID-19 pandemic where food and hospitality sector has been majorly affected, a recent phenomenon in the capital city of Odisha has given food for thought for foodies, ordinary people and restaurateurs.
In a way, it’s a novel idea and challenges the traditional concept of cooking and serving food in hotels and restaurants.
But as price, taste, variety and ease of access are what counts, ‘cloud kitchens’ seem to have an edge over other eateries, old and new. If you are wondering what cloud kitchen is, read on!
A cloud kitchen is primarily a restaurant kitchen that accepts incoming orders only through online order systems and offers no dine-in facilities. It has a base or a master kitchen that delivers food to the customers’ doorsteps. It can be set up with very low capital expenditure compared to a traditional cafe or restaurant as it needs only a food licence.
Cloud kitchen is an excellent start-up option for foodpreneurs as a physical restaurant typically clocks in 5-6% growth every year whereas a cloud kitchen can grow up to 70-90% year-on-year. The reasons simple – cooking in bulk, less maintenance cost, less staff payment, lesser rent etc are the reason why food costing is very less in such restaurants.
With the introduction of Swiggy, Zomato, Uber Eats etc, people especially the city dwellers have found an effective and efficient option to get their food online without much fuss. The opportunity to tap on their potential also seems to have come at a perfect time especially when the State is battling the Covid pandemic and when one has orders from any place with the versatile menu at an affordable price with good quality and quantity.
Since cloud kitchens have a lot of price cuts because of bulk production (excluding promo codes and coupons) people mostly order from such places.
According to an online survey, more than half of the people have never seen the restaurants from where they order food online. Such kitchens are also called dark kitchens.
Swiggy and Zomato have lately been funding a lot of cloud kitchens which include The Bowl Company and India Cloud Kitchen. However, these chains are coming up with kitchens of their own that have adversely affected local restaurants and other smaller cloud kitchens.
According to sources, Zomato runs three cloud kitchens near Suzuki showroom in Patia naming all three of them differently. Each of them serves the same food at more or less same price but here the chances of ordering from Zomato kitchens increases. Swiggy also has multiple cloud kitchens in the city running under random names.
Battered by Covid crisis, local restaurant owners meanwhile have expressed dissatisfaction with Swiggy and Zomato’s own kitchen. Apar Hota who runs a restaurant in Bhubaneswar said, “This is how corporates conquer. Our business has definitely been affected. We can’t afford to set a price as low as them as we have a lot more than they have to pay.”
Another restaurant owner Ranjan Das said, “Swiggy and Zomato take 18-23% commission on every delivery which I believe is marginally high. Over that, they are establishing their own kitchens.”
On the other hand, Prabhat Mallik who runs a cloud kitchen in the capital city said, “It is the newest innovation in the restaurant business. This model has several advantages like lower operational costs, competitive pricing and automation. Cloud kitchen is a recipe for success. However, there should be a limitation on how many kitchens a corporate can establish.”
It seems that the restaurant business has undergone a major transformation at the most opportune time to serve a very important niche market which was earlier being neglected by traditional restaurants.
(Edited By Suryakant Jena)
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