When the pandemic hit, every business immediately transformed to digital, making it essential for each department to have an online presence, even if they didn’t have one before. The same happened to the food industry, with delivery and takeaway becoming a current need and every dine-in operation going remote. On this note, the food industry came up with new trends to make it easier and convenient for people to order food, giving rise to the need for a virtual food brand, like that of The Leap Nation. And this model comes in the shape of cloud kitchens.

Cloud kitchens are delivery-only kitchens without any brick-and-mortar dining space. They just acquire a small kitchen space, with counters dedicated to different brands in some models.

Making an impact with your virtual food brand

Virtual food brands, like KBox Global have the advantage of cutting off the cost that would generally go into setting up a fancy dining space and a front-house staff, meaning this cost can be used elsewhere to optimize the business’s operations. This can be done by setting up a proper base for the cloud kitchen and marketing themselves to spread awareness among people about their business model. An example of this would be Kuwait London Company, which offers a number of delivery options to optimize customer experience and provide quality food.

Since cloud kitchens start from scratch, they don’t have already stored customer data to take advantage of. Established restaurants that launch their own virtual food brand can benefit in this regard since they can use the data they have collected over the years of running their restaurant, which now can help them understand the cloud kitchen preferences of their audience.

Virtual food brands, like Virturant, are a new era for the food industry that is promised to grow by $70+ billion in the next few years. As such, each restaurant needs to invest in this model to maximize their delivery services while also leading to their growth. Here are a few of the ways virtual food brands are making an impact on the food industry.

Food Aggregators

Collaborating with aggregators such as Foodpanda and Careem Now can help in further growth for the virtual kitchen model. It can also help spread awareness about the virtual food brand’s existence among the masses. This digital presence can lead to authenticating the cloud kitchen to be trusted among the audience. This not only makes business solutions optimized for the kitchen and the food brand they’re collaborating with but also makes for a good customer experience, which may turn into long-term loyal subjects for the shared kitchen business.

Variety of Food Options

Another huge influence of cloud kitchens is the number of food options they provide to consumers, that too according to their own preferences. A virtual food brand, like Virtual Food Concepts or The Lean Kitchen, not only has the option of collaborating with different restaurants and food businesses but also has the option of customizing the brands and menu items according to consumer demand. This means that people get to have all the food that they demand from their preferred choice of restaurants without having to compromise on its quality or taste.

The Limitations and Drawbacks

Even with all the profitable advantages provided by cloud kitchens, there are a few limitations we need to discuss.

Masked Customer Data

Restaurants have the benefit of establishing face-to-face relationships with consumers; this is a huge advantage that cloud kitchens lack in their operations as all their features are virtual except for the delivery service they provide. This means that all the customer data they have is masked, as the virtual kitchen model doesn’t really have access to interacting on a personal level with the consumer, and hence not knowing who the consumer actually is.

Dependence on Food Aggregators

One huge drawback for cloud kitchens is that they’re dependent on aggregators like Foodpanda, Uber Eats, and Careem Now. This dependence hinders their freedom of experimenting on different features for their customer experience. Only those virtual food brands with their own apps have the advantage of operating independently, giving them the space to focus on their growth and developing their features to cater to the customer experience.

High Competition

One important disadvantage of cloud kitchens is that it’s a competitive market. Every food business can enter the virtual restaurant business quite easily, making it harder for a brand to stand out and make an impact that’s unique to what everyone else is bringing to the table.

Pakistan’s Virtual Food Brand – Hotpod

Pakistan’s first managed kitchen, Hotpod, launched in mid-to-late 2020. For now, the managed cloud kitchen is only operating in Karachi, but their plans involve a country-wide scaling and expansion plan in the near future. Hotpod’s virtual food brand involves partnering with different food brands in Pakistan to bring a satisfying food experience to the table on a hyper-local level, resulting in the growth of the food businesses and making them stand among the large-scale competitors of the market.

Hotpod’s model entails learning the recipes of partner restaurants, cooking their food in Hotpod’s kitchen, and delivering them to customers. This will not only ensure the customers have an optimized food delivery experience but also lead to growth for the restaurants and food aggregators Hotpod will collaborate with. Keeping Hotpod in mind, there’s no doubt the food industry of Pakistan is set to face a positive change in food delivery operations, resulting in the overall growth of the market.

This is all there is when it comes to a virtual food brand. It’s surely a new era for the food industry and there’s a lot more to come in this regard.

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