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Ghost or virtual kitchens are becoming a key element of the food delivery business. Without storefronts or front-of-house staff, costs are low and they can be strategically located for fast deliveries. An Indonesian start-up has embraced the trend, but with a twist: it uses home kitchens instead of commercial spaces.
DishServe, which launched late 2020, currently works with around 100 home kitchens in Jakarta. When a potential partner signs up, their kitchen is surveyed. If it passes muster, they're provided with a freezer, microwave and food packaging. After being trained by DishServe, partners — often stay-at-home moms — start off preparing dishes from the company's own menu. Once they've successfully completed that trial, they're allowed to work for up to three other F&B brands, who provide ingredients and instructions.
DishServe and other cloud/ghost kitchen concepts capitalize on the rising popularity of delivery, which skyrocketed during the pandemic. Last year, Euromonitor predicted that ghost kitchens could be a USD 1 trillion market by 2030. That seems like a stretch, given the total online food delivery market is estimated to grow to USD 126.91 billion in 2021, but there's little doubt that out-of-sight food prep will continue to expand.