When food delivery startup Swiggy started cloud kitchens three years ago, it was a sideshow in its food delivery business. The concept caught on as restaurant brands that had a following in one area could expand easily into new localities or even other cities. Investment in real estate was reduced because these kitchens could be smaller and didn’t need premium locations, apart from doing away with seating and the staff for serving.
Various models arose. Some introduced cloud kitchens in addition to restaurants for expansion, like Chennai’s Buhari becoming available in Coimbatore. Others like Rebel Foods created fully virtual brands that only came from dark kitchens. This became a new real estate and services play as restaurants only had to provide cooking staff while everything else, including cleaning and maintenance, could be outsourced.
Cloud kitchens caught a new impetus after the covid pandemic struck this year. Now even high-end restaurants