Food tech is not just about food engineering and genetic modification. Cloud kitchens are an innovation that affects and indeed improves how food is prepared and dispatched.
In every emerging technology era, making things easier, smoother, faster, and better has been the goal. The disruption of industries by technology relies on doing away with the unnecessary and the obsolete. Many times, technology aims to change the status quo and give and improve more options. Food technology deals with the research and development, production, preservation, and quality control of food. One of the earliest challenges around food was its preservation. Over time, food technology has focused on other, more challenging issues in the food and beverage industry.
Technology led to food processing, to improve the aesthetics and make it more acceptable. It also brought about store-bought packaged meals for time-strapped individuals. Food tech also changed the world through genetically modified foods. These are enhanced by packing them with more nutrients or changing how they look. Sometimes their sizes are even increased and other times plant cycles are shortened for faster maturation and production.
The perceived lack or requirement leads to the application of technology in the industry. So, when it comes to food tech and cloud kitchens, what needs are met? Cloud kitchens deal with challenges surrounding the ordering and consumption of food.
Food Tech and Cloud Kitchens: Employed Technologies and Skills
Cloud kitchens, also called ghost or virtual kitchens, are a rising trend. Cloud kitchens are restaurants without a sitting area or take-out counter, just kitchens. The model is to quickly prepare and deliver well-preserved food of high quality. However, there is more to them than just cooking and sending out; they are tech-enabled.
Cloud kitchens have been reported to improve marginal costs and reduce the cost of meals by 30%. Due to the ease of set-up, there can be an influx of optimistic ‘entrepreneurs’ into the system. Also, the rising appreciation of remote working and the diminishing time to shop for groceries and prepare and serve meals promises sustainable economics in the business. However, standing out, making profits, and sustaining the business depends on employing certain technologies and skills.
Enhanced consumer insight makes a difference and predicts the direction of customers’ wants in future. Generating and analysing data with AI and data analytical skills are the backbone of successful cloud kitchens. The customer’s journey from initial research to placing an order and getting fulfilled leaves a trail of data cloud kitchens can access and use.
The cloud kitchen model runs on understanding consumers’ behaviour and responding to market trends as quickly as possible. This data can only be generated from feedback from analytics of digital platforms used. The generated data is analysed and used to make better choices available.
From creating awareness, marketing, taking orders, and delivering the food, cloud kitchens depend on technology to survive. Whether they create their own platform for the services or they employ third-party apps, technology is used. Many cloud kitchen businesses depend solely on social selling through social media apps. While this might do at the initial stages of the business, scaling will demand a more personalized option for data generation.
The preparation and sale of food have evolved over the years, with food technology aiding the transition. So, from roadside vendors and restaurant owners, Nigeria is slowly experiencing the new emergence of food tech and cloud kitchens.
Aside from the essential technologies needed by cloud kitchens, a well-equipped kitchen and a skilled cook or chef are also needed. With the advantages and endless possibilities and niches cloud kitchen offers, it might serve as a scaling option for restaurant owners as the economy.