Why Cloud Kitchens Make Sense During Quarantines

The 'new normal' in serving food?

As dreams of seeing a fully booked dinner service remain bleak, restaurants struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic might just find the recipe on how to survive, if not thrive, in cloud kitchens.

While many restaurants are closing due to the financial constraints of keeping a brick-and-mortar presence, cloud kitchens are thriving as the distribution model relies solely on a kitchen and a delivery service to bring food to customers. 

What is a cloud kitchen? Think of it as a virtual food park where customers can order from different restaurants with the convenience of paying a single delivery fee. The distribution model, while still relatively new to Filipinos, is innovating food deliveries while offering hope to struggling food and beverage entrepreneurs.


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One proof of the success of cloud kitchens during the pandemic is GrabKitchen, which first popped up in Makati City and later in Sampaloc, Manila.

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Despite the lockdowns and restrictions on business operations, including those of restaurants, GrabKitchen is thriving--opening up two more virtual food parks in Malate, Manila, and in Parañaque City.

"I think the environment has created a space or a community that is perfect for cloud kitchens to start and go," GrabKitchen Project Lead Josephine Kamiyama told reporters during a video conference on Wednesday.

"Basically, what we aim is to simplify the process of our partner merchants to expand their footprint with minimal capital expenditure," she said.

New normal in food

Cloud kitchens also paint a picture of the 'new normal' in the food and beverage industry where delivery is king. Before the pandemic hit, food deliveries only account for 20% of sales of family restaurant Dapo at Tisa, said its managing partner Vincent de Castro.

With restrictions on indoor dining, Castro said around 80% of the restaurant's sales now come from food deliveries, including orders from GrabKitchen.

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"It has given us that extended reach to our customers," Castro said.

VR Del Rosario of Viva International Food & Restaurants Inc--which includes brands such as Paper Moon, and Yogorino -- said cloud kitchens give food establishments room to grow during the pandemic.

"I think that it (cloud kitchen) minimizes the risk as oppose to opening your own brick and mortar. It’s really an extension of your restaurant," he said.

Even when the COVID-19 pandemic ends, cloud kitchens will likely continue to survive and thrive along with the return of indoor dining, as the habit of food deliveries has grown on people, said Kraver's Canteen's Co-Founder and General Manager Victor Lim.

"Sure people, might not order GrabFood a bunch in their homes anymore but they will still order a bunch from the office or from other places," he said.

"Delivery will always be there," he added.


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