Although the concept already exists in Asia and has been tested successfully by brands such as Dahmakan (Pop Meals) in Southeast Asia and Rebel Foods in South Asia, the cloud kitchen landscape in Bangladesh is still in its infancy and has the potential to grow exponentially.
More recently, there has been a significant interest in this space due to its hassle-free business activities, reliable profit margins, growing customer base, and low-cost. So what is this cloud kitchen concept? Cloud Kitchens, also called Ghost Kitchens, are simply online-based or internet restaurants with no dine-in facilities like a traditional restaurant. Their food is only offered through food aggregators like HungryNaki or Pathao Food, or through their own delivery network. Since these internet restaurants are generally just commercial kitchens, they take extra care in preparing food and satisfying the customer’s desire, rather than focusing on the dine-in experiences.
In metro cities like Dhaka or Chittagong, cut-throat competition combined with low margins is leading to restaurant closures, with customers preferring to order food at home. This shift in customer choice has disrupted the restaurant industry because convenience now beats dining experiences. This has paved the way for new entrepreneurs to enter this industry utilizing the cloud kitchen model and make conventional brick-and-mortar outlets tremble. Established players in the F&B industry are more likely to survive, but the smaller brands will struggle going forward. Therefore, the new kitchen-centric model is interesting as it does not require high working capital to open a full-fledged dining restaurant.
One of the more recent entrepreneurs in this field, Syed Tahmid Zaman, co-founded an internet restaurant company through which he plans to launch over 600 internet restaurants in Bangladesh over the course of 5 years. Since its launch in October 2020, his venture called Ghost Kitchen Bangladesh has already opened 4 internet restaurants in just 2.5 months and hopes to start 5 more within the next two months. “We are one of the very few companies in Dhaka’s foodtech community and at this point, we are at a very early stage. Currently, our razor-sharp focus is on proving our business model. When our own kitchens start breaking-even, we will launch our Fulfillment Partner concept to scale rapidly throughout the country.” Along with its production kitchen in Tejgaon, the startup company has opened two more satellite kitchens in Moghbazar and Banani. “Cloud kitchens are gaining momentum due to changes in consumer preferences towards dining in and home delivery, which I believe will definitely attract significant investment in this field”, he added.
Bangladesh has been consistent in achieving upward economic growth, thanks to its extensive foreign trade which has created more resources and employment opportunities. Although it lags behind Southeast Asia and India in certain parameters, Bangladesh still managed to become an attractive market for startup investments – with recent investments by Gojek, 500 Startups and Ant Financials in local startups.