The sudden emergence of virtual kitchen startups in Malaysia should not come as a surprise. Research shows millennials are three times more likely than their parents to order meals online. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has created or enhanced novel ways of dealing with restrictive dining options, food insecurity and the hunger for convenient meals.
Virtual, “cloud”, or “ghost” kitchens, businesses that prepare meals for home delivery, are growing to meet these demands. Malaysia’s virtual kitchen startups provide flexible food delivery options and save money by maximising cooking spaces. They are also teaming up with third-party payment apps and delivery services to make it easier for consumers to order delicious and healthy meals.
Cloud kitchen trends in Malaysia show high potential for the future due to the flexibility, efficiency, and profit potential they offer.
We look at 6 emerging cloud kitchens in Indonesia
Here are seven promising virtual kitchens making their mark in the country.
Asia’s food-delivery giant Foodpanda is dedicated to delivering delicious food from its customers’ favourite restaurants. Its operation spans 12 countries and over 400 cities, working with chefs to create flavourful meals for its buyers.
Thus far, the company has raised $749.5 million USD from investors such as Delivery Hero, Prosus & Naspers and Rocket Internet. Other financiers include Phenomenon, Kinnevik AB, Falcon Capital and Goldman Sachs Investment Partners. It acquired Mumbai-based food delivery company Holachef and has a virtual brands partnership deal with Rebel Foods.
Cloud kitchen and co-working space CookHouse provides shared resources, facilities and events spaces for food entrepreneurs. The company designs ready-to-use kitchens, office spaces, classrooms, warehouse distribution centres and amenities to allow culinary creators and startups to deliver food to customers. These working areas lower capital requirements, maintenance costs and staffing expenses for new food businesses.
CookHouse has a partnership with Maybank Islamic Bhd to allow small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the food sector to access the cloud kitchen.
Quality kitchen space and innovative solutions company COOX provides support and resources to culinary brands. It fosters various initiatives for food and beverage (F&B) companies to capitalise on opportunities and serve their customers better. These advantages include software platforms, order management systems and automated business performance tracking.
COOX pre-builds cloud kitchens in prime locations with access to high-spending buyers. Moreover, it tweaks the product offerings to maximise profit margins and improve a brand’s profitability.
Multi-brand online restaurant company Loop Foods not only delivers food to customers but identifies their moods and indulges those feelings by creating unique meals from one of their brands. The three brand types are Spargo Eats, Plant Nation and Busy Bee.
Part of the Sunway iLabs Super Accelerator Programme 2021, it emerged as one of the top five companies from the twenty-three startups initially selected.
Trendy meals delivery service Pop Meals quickly transports well-liked dishes to customers at popular prices. It has a meal chart filled with patrons’ favourite local and foreign food options. In addition, the Pop Wallet feature offers order savings, instant payments and refunds.
The company has raised $27 million USD from Golden Equator Ventures, Woowa Bros, Partech, Atami Capital, JAFCO Asia, White Star Capital, Y Combinator and Rakuten Capital.
Cloud kitchen solution KitchenConnect enables restaurants to grow by providing ready-to-use kitchens with minimal investment. Its systems lower operational costs, open up the business to a larger pool of customers and save time, resources and logistics.
KitchenConnect creates a virtual storefront to trade products that do not require a kitchen. Moreover, the restaurant can sell multiple food brands from the one cloud kitchen. Its software serves the restaurateur and other culinary entrepreneurs.
Food-delivery company Aliments offers a one-click meal selection process from the range of available restaurants on its platform. The consumer can pay using a credit card, debit card or mobile phone wallet. All orders are available on the merchant app for easy tracking, and buyers also gain loyalty points, which they can use to pay for orders.
Aliments has established partnerships with multiple delivery companies such as Mr Speedy, GrabExpress, Lalamove and GoGet.
The cloud kitchen trends in Malaysia bode well for the new sector and for startups seeking to bring innovative solutions to the marketplace at a time when the public is wary of the COVID-19 pandemic. Regulatory authorities should ensure the Malaysia virtual kitchen startups domain maintains safety for consumers by enforcing health standards.
Technology allows businesses to analyse customer data to enhance their services. The possibilities of expansion will grow as they begin serving additional locations and attract more millennials as customers. Also, virtual kitchen startups in Malaysia can thrive by teaming up with third-party tech companies to create seamless food-ordering and delivery platforms and payment solutions.
Adopting these steps will benefit the food services industry, the environment, the public and the economy.