Cloud kitchens are already designed to reduce the burden on infrastructure on food and beverage brands, providing them with centralized facilities to prepare meals for delivery. This means that the responsibility lies with cloud kitchen operators to ensure they have enough locations to meet the demand of F&B customers, while ensuring fast deliveries to end customers.
Indonesian network DishServe has discovered a way to make cloud cooking networks work even better. Launched by RedDoorz’s former chief operating officer, the start-up of the budget hotel, DishServe is partnering with home kitchens rather than renting or buying its own facilities. He currently works with nearly 100 home kitchens in Jakarta and focuses on small and medium-sized F&B brands, which serve as a last-mile delivery network. Launched in the fall of 2020, DishServe has raised an undisclosed amount of pre-seed seed funding from Insignia Ventures Partners.
DishServe was founded in September 2020 by Rishabh Singhi. After leaving RedDoorz in late 2019, Singhi moved to New York, with plans to launch a new hospitality company that could quickly turn any commercial space into member clubs like Soho House. The nascent company had already set up prefabricated sample rooms and was about to start leasing properties when the closure of COVID-19 hit New York City in March 2020. Singhi said he made a “game of soul search ”for a couple of months, deciding what to do and whether I should return to Southeast Asia.
He realized that since many restaurants had to switch to online orders and deliveries to survive the pandemic, this could be an equalizer for small F&B brands competing with larger players, such as McDonald’s. But the closures meant many people had to choose from a limited supply of restaurants close to where they lived. At the same time, Singhi saw that there were a lot of people who wanted to make more money, but could not work outside their home, like the mothers who stayed at home.
DishServe was created to connect the three parts: F&B brands that want to expand without spending a lot of money, home entrepreneurs and diners eager for more food options. Its other founders include Stefanie Irma, a former RedDoorz employee who served as head of country in the Philippines; serial entrepreneur Vinav Bhanawat; and Fathhi Mohamed, who also co-founded Sri Lanka’s on-demand taxi service PickMe.
The company works with F&B brands that usually have between one and 15 retail outlets and want to increase their shipments without opening new outlets. DishServe customers also include cloud cooking companies that use their home cooking network for last-mile distribution to expand their delivery coverage and catering services.
“Brands don’t have to incur any upfront costs, and it’s also a cheaper way to distribute because they don’t have to pay for electricity, plumbing and stuff like that,” Singhi said. “And for agents, it gives them a chance to make money from their home.”
How it works
Before adding a home kitchen to your network, DishServe examines applicants by asking them to submit a series of photos and then perform a face-to-face check. If a kitchen is accepted, DishServe updates it so that it has the same equipment and functionality as the other domestic kitchens in its network. The company covers the cost of the conversion process, which usually takes about three hours and costs $ 500, and retains ownership of the equipment, recovering it if a kitchen decides to stop working with DishServe. Singhi said DishServe is usually able to recoup the cost of a conversion four months after the kitchen starts operating.
Homemade kitchens start by serving DishServe’s white label as a test before it opens to other brands. Each can serve up to three additional brands at once.
One important thing to keep in mind is that DishServe’s home kitchens, which are usually run by a single person, don’t actually cook any food. F&B brands provide the ingredients and home cooking operators follow a set of standard procedures for heating, assembling and packaging food to pick it up and deliver it.
DishServe ensures that standard operating procedures and hygiene standards are maintained through frequent online audits. Kitchen agents or operators regularly present photos and videos of kitchens according to a checklist (i.e., food preparation area, floors, walls, hand washing area, and interior of freezers). Singhi said about 90 percent of his agents are women between the ages of 30 and 55, with an average family income of $ 1,000. When working with DishServe, they typically earn an additional $ 600 a month once the kitchen is running at full capacity with four brands. DishServe earns revenue through an revenue sharing model, charging F&B brands and sharing this with its agents.
After joining DishServe, F&B brands choose which home kitchens they want to work with and then distribute ingredients to the kitchens, using DishServe’s real-time control panel to monitor stocks. Some ingredients have a shelf life of up to six months, while perishable products, such as dairy products and eggs, are delivered daily. DishServe’s “initial package” to incorporate new brands allows them to choose five kitchens, but Singhi said most brands usually start with 10 to 20 kitchens so they can be delivered to more Jakarta locations and save money by preparing meals. Bulk.
DishServe plans to focus on growing its network in Jakarta until at least later this year, before expanding to other cities. “One thing we are trying to change about the F&B industry is that instead of highly concentrated and centralized food businesses, like what exists today, we decentralize it by allowing microentrepreneurs to act as a distribution network,” Singhi said. .