FOOD-TECH firm TiffinLabs, which prepares and delivers cooked meals to its customers, on Monday said it has acquired access to 1,000 delivery-enabled kitchens across the US, Europe and Asia in hopes of creating an international cloud kitchen network.
The kitchens are expected to open progressively worldwide from the last quarter of 2020, it said. It will open kitchens in cities such as Chicago, Austin and San Francisco in the US, as well as London, Manchester and Birmingham in the UK.
TiffinLabs currently operates nine digital-first restaurant brands out of its kitchens in Singapore, including Publico Express, a pasta bar and pizzeria as well as Hureideu, a korean fried chicken joint.
Kishin R. K., co-founder and chairman of TiffinLabs, said: “Singapore is known... as a food lover's paradise with its wide mix of local and western food, and TiffinLabs looks forward to sharing this globally.”
He is one of Singapore's youngest billionaires, and hopes that this new venture will “help all players in the food industry tap into the growth of this sector”.
TiffinLabs also plans to use data analytics to identify food trends and changing consumer preferences, as well as to optimise supply chains in local smart kitchens to fill gaps in delivery zones, it said.
Mr Kishin said he expects to see two very different winners in this space: “The first will be the local niche specialty cuisine player that can create value through distinction for a specific segment of the market. The other will be global delivery businesses which will scale brands and menus with suppliers and delivery platforms and invest in innovation, specifically to create food for delivery, reinventing customers’ experience of in-home dining.”
It is clear which TiffinLabs aspires to be. However, the cloud kitchen ecosystem remains saturated as new and old players rush to capture the margins and network-building opportunities created by the rising popularity of food-delivery services.
Cloud kitchens, which are also referred to as dark kitchens, ghost kitchens or virtual kitchens, which are centralised licensed commercial food production facilities where anywhere from one or two to dozens of restaurants rent space to prepare delivery-optimized menu items.
In Singapore, all major delivery players have cloud-kitchen concepts; new player Smart City Kitchen, linked to ousted Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick, has a kitchen in Tampines.
“As someone who has been in this industry for the last 10 years, I strongly feel that the value of real estate and the monetisation capability of its adjacent business models will be determined by how well it integrates into the digital economy,” said Mr Kishin.