Cloud Kitchen – Technology powering restaurant chains

The growth in the infrastructure sector and the improvements in transportation have enabled a quicker commute compared to the earlier days. Quicker commutes are even getting quicker day by day because of the strong support from machine learning algorithms, AI, high cloud/edge computing speeds, etc. As a result, themes like carpooling, ride sharing got very popular and widely accepted by everyone not just in the US but globally. The simple idea of a ride-sharing paved way to companies like Uber and Lyft. Uber and Lyft are the 2 major ride-sharing operators in the US. When these companies had a huge fleet of vehicles on road for service they realized the potential of using the same technology in getting the food delivered to customers by associating restaurants as partners in their new line of business and potentially enabled almost every restaurants to have delivery as a possible option without having to run their own delivery service. This started the era of ‘On-Demand-Delivery’ in the restaurant business.

Like many have predicted the battle in business and tech may be for the customer interface and connect.

To quote some examples –

  1. FB doesn’t know any data. Still the leading social networking company
  2. Airbnb doesn’t own any hotels. But leading accommodation provider
  3. Uber or Lyft do not own majority of vehicles. Still leading commutation provider

Likewise, cloud kitchen is for the restaurant business.

So what is Cloud Kitchen? A restaurant kitchen or group of restaurant kitchens which take orders from customers through online and deliver the food to the customer at their doorstep. In this case,

  1. The customer won’t know from where the food is prepared – Orders are received through online portals or mobile apps
  2. Kitchens won’t know where the food is being delivered – Delivery is bridged by delivery partners

More details on the different types of existing cloud kitchen models are depicted in a picture below –

Also, the interface needs more robust and easily scalable. Depicted below, a high-level architecture on how API’s would interact with each other –

Things that got improved with cloud kitchen –

  1. Less dependency on frozen meals – More often we rely on frozen foods for the convenience it brings. Everything is pre-cooked and you simply heat it. However, if food can be delivered within 30 mins to 1 hour of time the dependency on frozen meals may reduce
  2. Less dependency on fast foods Drive through restaurants gained popularity because of their near-zero wait times in the counter. This comes with its own health issues associated with fast foods. Cloud kitchen with their delivery has improved the quality of food that one would consume.

Improved models with cloud kitchen –

  1. Multiple restaurant orders pickup by delivery partners with the same order – Currently while you use apps like uber eats or door dash there is no way that you can combine 2 different restaurants in a single order even if the restaurant may be next to each other. In today’s Open API standards achieving this use case should be possible.
  2. Pot luck styled restaurants – Get a variety of foods from different kitchens and have it delivered in one physical restaurant location. This should be possible by redefining the delivery partners as wholesale delivery and retail delivery.
  3. Drones/Autonomous vehicles based delivery – With no changes to existing API’s integrating the new element in delivery should be possible. For the system, driving manually or autonomous should not add any difference.

Please leave your comments on what improvements would you like to see in cloud kitchen. Happy learning!

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