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CloudEats and the anatomy of cloud kitchens: a new trend in food entrepreneurship   

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One of the best perks that technology has to offer us is our capability to store photos, do moving streaming, and operate a business in the cloud. With businesses like CloudEats, we can now order and have our food cravings delivered with no hassle at all through these so-called ‘cloud kitchens’.

Recognized as the biggest cloud kitchen operation in the Philippines, CloudEats has partnered with over 70 restaurants and five physical kitchens to broaden its scope in the first quarter of 2020. Serving with cost-productive locations under a non-retail name, all kitchen staff and delivery men prepare meals with passion and promptly deliver all orders at the customer’s doorsteps.

The role of cloud kitchens in food entrepreneurship   

Also known as commissary kitchens, kitchen cloud operators maintain a high standard in producing and transporting topnotch food quality. In some countries, these are also known as shared kitchens, virtual kitchen/restaurants, or ghost kitchens. This is not something new in the history of the food industry and logistics as most of our local food are both imported and exported since the time of our ancestors especially for those who live nearby rivers and oceans.

Cloud kitchens can be compared to one of the early forms of trade as the natives of a specific area use any available mode of transportation like animals, boats, or even by their feet. In the past decade, the pizza industry is the one who practically developed food delivery and optimized kitchen operators to meet the demands of their customers. Previously, pizza houses deliver their products for those who are just at least 10 to 20 miles away from them.

The option to have our lunches and dinners be delivered has been modeled and modified to adapt to the advancement of technology and in the habits of consumers across rural and urban areas. Restaurants with food delivery options have documented up to an 80% increase in their sales and revenue as soon as they offered it. Many customers prefer to take advantage of the convenience of having their food delivered straight to their homes to save time, transportation fares, and more quality time with loved ones.

Starting it may require more manpower and processes such as getting a delivery man, vehicle, and creative yet resourceful packing strategies. However, these are all worth it as it boosts their chance to attract new customers for their food offerings and convert them into regular paying customers while staying at home. This trend has been sought by the forerunners of the cloud kitchens such as the CloudEats here in the Philippines to create a new, innovative, and profitable scheme under the food industry.

How CloudEats used the ‘cloud kitchen’ trend to their advantage

The progressive opportunities in food entrepreneurship have greatly impacted the economic boom in the major cities in the world. Metro Manila, for example, is the cradle of food trade that is brought to life by the innovative minds coming from different parts of the Philippines. This means that the popular food that emerged from a specific part of the country has been utilized by food entrepreneurs to bring their local cravings in the city.

As people from the city are naturally-born and raised in the provinces where these foods originated, it created a trend to make these available in the country’s capital. These have been proven by how both commercial kitchens and street carinderias in Metro Manila are now offering Kapampangan Sisig, Pinakbet Ilocano, Bulalo ala Batangeno, Sinigang Tagalog, and Sinaglaw de Bisaya among others. The surge of customers asking these foods delivered straight to their doorsteps has opened the idea of starting a commissary kitchen and a virtual restaurant.

CloudEats has been dynamic in optimizing their kitchens and delivery system as the food business is an ever-changing industry, to begin with. Their success facilitated several connections of famous restaurant brands to small eatery owners to create menus that will surely fit in the food cravings of the masses. More vacant spaces have also been converted into the commercial kitchen where their meals are cooked to maximize mutual profit and food production efficiency.

The mission of CloudEats to nurture a trend in food entrepreneurship has positively connected the continuous demand for healthy & affordable meals and the supply across residential and businesses. The creation of shared kitchens and new methods for food delivery has opened more opportunities for the Filipino people. Once this sector develops and stabilizes, it can increase economic growth both locally and on a national level.

The operations of CloudEats at large

Operated and solely owned by BitesTogo, Inc., CloudEats started to centralize facilities and operations for food production as a ‘Cloud Kitchen’. They were able to secure enough kitchen staff, delivery men, accountants, supervisory personnel, and all necessary employees. Just like any business with not enough employees, it will fail the second they begin operating. A restaurant can run a single food brand or multiple virtual restaurants. They have also partnered with the big three in the field of food delivery: GrabFood, FoodPanda, and Lalafood.

The company is operating in five major facilities in Metro Manila where optimized delivery food items are prepared, sealed, and deployed for delivery. These items come from 70 brands specifically-made to ease the mode of food production, reliability for top-notch quality even after delivery. As of March 2020, they remain as a private company among the Asia Food Delivery Companies founded in June 2019 with a recorded 3,000 average of orders daily.

Orders are placed on their website or through their partner apps that can be downloaded from the Play Store for Android users and the App Store for iOs users. Customers must sign up first as a new user on the respective app where their name, contact number, and address are placed. Each restaurant among the selection has a menu. After the customer has finished selecting, it will prompt them to input the delivery address and payment method.

The CloudEats ‘food drive’

Due to recent coronavirus pandemic, CloudEats has committed to be part of the frontliners as a source for meal orders from households despite the Enhanced Community Lockdown (ECQ). It also became the lifeline of small food enterprises which is sought as a potential solution to the crisis of the food entrepreneurship industry.

Although they are offering at least 15% off from their competitors and in-store purchases, CloudEats has raised more than 60,000 meals for 10 local government units and more than 27 hospitals. They started a ‘food drive’ as their way of helping the community to feed the medical & security frontliners for their meals as they perform their work. 

The company has also raised Php 70.94 million as part of the seed funding from its partner food, beverage, and real estate companies. Kimberly Yao, the CEO, and Co-Founder of CloudEats has stated that they will be using the funds to open more cloud kitchens across the Southeast Asian countries in two years.

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