The F&B landscape in Australia has changed monumentally due to the global pandemic as businesses had to find cost-effective ways to navigate through the unprecedented challenges that were thrown at them. One of the top solutions that was widely adopted was shifting business operations to a CloudKitchen® delivery kitchen as they were cheaper to run than a traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant and offered an already-established customer base that eateries could take advantage of.
With the aftereffects of the pandemic still being felt, the demand for these types of kitchen spaces doesn’t seem like it will die down anytime soon. Since there are many restaurants out there that are intrigued by the prospect of going down the CloudKitchen® delivery kitchen route, we at Chef Collective have put together a comprehensive guide on how to start a CloudKitchen® delivery kitchen business in Australia.
Pick the right location
Let’s face it, if you are in the wrong location, you have already lost. Since CloudKitchen® delivery kitchen providers like Chef Collective have numerous locations to pick from, you have to do your homework before nailing down the right city or neighbourhood for you. Do some research on what type of cuisine is underrepresented and identify if your restaurant will solve the problem. Simply put, you want to stand out from the crowd rather than blend in and be competing with a whole bunch of other eateries offering the same food you do.
Brand image is key
Since CloudKitchen® delivery kitchens get all their orders online, it is imperative for them to build a great brand image so that they earn the trust of the public and become one of the culinary hotspots in town people order from. But, how exactly do you do that when starting a CloudKitchen® delivery kitchen? Well, there are two crucial aspects that you have to work on:
- Logo – Some people may just think of it as an image, but it’s much more than that. Many iconic brands are instantly recognisable just based on their logo. Think of McDonald’s and you will instantly picture its logo in your head. When creating your restaurant’s logo, it needs to be simple, yet appealing. Take your time to create one that really captures people’s attention as it will feature prominently on delivery apps, your website, social media accounts and all your packaging.
- Packaging – Like your logo, it has to be visually appealing and catch the eye of your customers. Think of it this way, you want them to take pictures of your packaging and the food and post it online so that it reaches an even wider audience.
Get the word out there
Since CloudKitchen® delivery kitchens have a completely different business model than traditional restaurants, all their marketing efforts have to be focused online. In order to spread the word and attract new customers, these are some of the areas they will need to concentrate on:
- Social media – Almost everyone in the world is on some form of social media, so it is imperative to have an account across multiple platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, etc. Post content about your food, backstory, staff, and any special items or promotions that may be coming up. Be unique and creative with your content, and watch how the masses flock to your business.
- Use influencers – With a huge following, influencers are the perfect people to use for marketing efforts as they can bring you a whole lot of business. Get them to share what they order from your restaurant or include them in a promotion or discount to incentivise people to order from your eatery.
- User-friendly website – Having a website is incredibly important as it lets your diners know more about your restaurant and what you stand for as a business. Be sure to include an online menu, information about the establishment and a blog section with intriguing food for thought.
- Newsletters – It may sound old-school, but doing this once or twice a month can be really effective, especially if you have something you want to shout about. Whether it’s a new menu, new dishes or special offers, all this and more can be included in a newsletter that you can send out to your customers.
- Customer reviews – When customers order food from you, find ways to encourage them to leave a review online. Whether it’s through Yelp or on your social media accounts, getting positive feedback is a surefire way to drive more people to your CloudKitchen® delivery kitchen. When getting any reviews, whether good or bad, it is essential you respond back in a timely manner.
Keep your orders in check
Since orders may start coming through quickly, it is vital that you stay on top of everything in order to avoid making mistakes that anger customers and ruin your business’s reputation. To ensure you don’t fall into this trap, consider implementing the following steps:
- Update your menu – If a particular dish is out of stock or you have refreshed your menu, make sure the changes are seen across the board. The last thing you want is to realise that you cannot fulfil an order only after it has already been placed by a customer.
- Accurate waiting times – When people are hungry, they want their food delivered to them as soon as possible. When receiving an order, make sure you provide an accurate waiting time. Don’t say it will be with them in 20 minutes if it will actually arrive in 40 minutes. Using misleading tactics will do more harm than good.
- Utilise top-notch technology – If you are wondering how to stay on top of all orders when starting a CloudKitchen® delivery kitchen, you should know that we at Chef Collective provide the latest technology to enable restaurants to view all orders coming in on one tablet, regardless of how many food delivery platforms they have partnered with.
How many employees do you need?
When starting a CloudKitchen® delivery kitchen business, one of the major questions is how to decide the number of staff you need. Simply put, consider how many orders you expect to receive and hire the number of chefs that you anticipate you will require to fulfil them. Ultimately, you will need fewer employees than in traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants since there won’t be a dine-in area, which eliminates the need for waiters, bartenders, dishwashers and general managers.
The advantages of a cloud kitchen
It’s easy to go on and on about the benefits of opening a CloudKitchen® delivery kitchen, but here are some of the key reasons many businesses turn to them:
- Lower costs – Whether it’s staff, rent, and general fixtures, the costs associated with a CloudKitchen® delivery kitchen come nowhere close to that of normal eateries. In Australia, the amount needed to kickstart a CloudKitchen® delivery kitchen is approximately A$23,000, while the investment required for a normal restaurant is closer to A$1 million.
- Hit the ground running – Since the CloudKitchen® delivery kitchens are almost ready, all you need to do is bring the equipment and make any small changes needed before accepting orders and making money. Brick-and-mortar restaurants need a lot more time to set up and are significantly costlier too.
- Food is the main focus – When operating out of a CloudKitchen® delivery kitchen, you can devote all your attention to ensuring the food is of the highest quality. While this can also be found in traditional restaurants, there are other aspects that need to be watched over, including the customers dining in and the staff.
The potential disadvantages
While there are significant benefits to opening a CloudKitchen® delivery kitchen, a few disadvantages are to be expected.
- A brand new area – It’s not easy to adopt a whole new business model and there may be certain kinks that need to be ironed out. This can take some time to figure out and may require some investment too.
- Less face-to-face interaction with customers – Unlike restaurants that can ask diners in person about their experience, CloudKitchen® delivery kitchen businesses have to mainly rely on online reviews, which may not always accurately reflect their true dining experience.
- People prefer eating in restaurants – For some people, they enjoy eating out in a physical location instead of ordering food at home or in the office. As a result, it can be a pain to educate them on why your business has an advantage over traditional restaurants.
Ready to open a cloud kitchen?
With all the information needed on how to start a CloudKitchen® delivery kitchen, you can now assess whether it is the right move for your restaurant.
If you are interested in opening a CloudKitchen® delivery kitchen in Australia, fill out the form below or get in touch with us today.