Restaurant India – How This Taiwan-based cloud-kitchen has achieved 75% customer loyalty during the pandemic

Original article by Nusra, Deputy Features Editor, Restaurant India, December 14, 2020

In an exclusive interview with Restaurant India, Kent Wu, Chief Operating Officer, JustKitchen , a Taiwan-based cloud-kitchen start-up that grew exponentially during the pandemic talks about its expansion plans.

The coronavirus has pulled the rug from beneath for any industries including the food and beverage sector. Once considered as plan B for the sector, Cloud-kitchen has acted as a saviour, game changer for the restaurant and food business at the time of the pandemic. According to a report by Allied Market Research, the global cloud kitchen market is estimated to reach NT$2,103 billion (US$71.4 billion) by 2027, almost doubling the amount in 2019. Taiwan-based JustKitchen is one of that startup that rides on the cloud-kitchen boom. Started in February 2020, it currently has 14 kitchens in the country. Excerpts from the interview:

How Cloud-kitchen model is changing the food service game globally?

This is a great question and very pertinent in current times due to COVID. In many countries, take out or delivery for restaurants has converted from 5-20% of their business, to now, 80-100% of their business. And hot food delivery has, in the last 6 months, increased user penetration from 20% to 80% of the population. When you factor in generational demographics, this sort of user shift would normally have taken 10-20 years to occur. Handling that level of demand increase in such a short amount of time is not an easy feat, especially for restaurants not designed for the significant reversal of demand and distribution channel, from dine-in to take-out / delivery. What was once an optional consideration for the consumer is now exclusively the only choice. And even post-COVID, this new modality will be part of the landscape; just as fast food (QSR) became part of the F&B space.

Tell us something about JustKitchen and its journey?

With only 10 months of history, we currently have 14 Spoke Kitchens (smaller kitchens where final meal preparation and packaging before delivery takes place) and one large Hub Kitchen (larger commercial kitchen where earlier stage food preparation takes place), and we have already achieved best-in-industry customer loyalty of 75%. We’re very fortunate to be at the right place at the right time, and have gained significant traction, even without COVID being a significant part of daily life in Taiwan. As we expand internationally into other countries, where habits and everyday life have been more impacted, we expect to see even greater traction and momentum.

We’ve created a new standard for hot food delivery, just as fast casual restaurants like Panera, Corner Bakery, and Chipotle have done for casual dining. We are able to offer the experience of fast casual dining, built for delivery. Another aspect of our business that sets us apart is our online grocery delivery platform, JustMarket. The global online grocery market is already estimated to be worth around $200 billion, and it is only gaining strength due to the pandemic. We’re also offering pre-packaged, ready-to-cook food items from our proprietary food brands that appeal to certain demographics, such as our “Nutritionist Guided” range, which offers a variety of healthy cook-at-home meals and food items…