How To Open Cloud Kitchen On Zomato?

May 10, 2024

Gone are the days of brick-and-mortar limitations. The future of food is virtual, and India is hungry for it! Looking for answers on how to open a cloud kitchen on Zomato then this is the right place.

This guide unlocks the secrets to launching a thriving cloud kitchen, turning your culinary passion into a profitable online empire. So, buckle up, foodies and entrepreneurs, because it's time to take your kitchen to the cloud!

kitchen

The Rise of Cloud Kitchens: A Marriage of Food and Tech

The food industry has always been a dynamic landscape, constantly evolving to meet the ever-changing demands of consumers. Today, we're witnessing a revolution driven by technology – the rise of cloud kitchens. These innovative kitchens operate solely for online orders and delivery, leveraging technology to streamline operations and cater specifically to the growing online food market.

Growth of the Online Food Industry and its Expected Future Expansion

The online food industry has experienced explosive growth in recent years. Further, the online food delivery market is also projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.7% from 2022 to 2030, reaching a staggering USD 253.95 billion by 2030 (Source: Grand View Research)

In terms of user penetration, 25.2% of users in India are expected to be a part of the online food delivery segment in 2024. This surge in demand, coupled with advancements in mobile technology and delivery infrastructure, has paved the way for cloud kitchens to thrive. 

Impact of Food Aggregators like Zomato on Cloud Kitchens

Platforms like Zomato have become game-changers in the online food game. They act as intermediaries, connecting customers with a vast array of restaurants, including cloud kitchens. These aggregators provide crucial visibility for cloud kitchens, streamlining the ordering process and ensuring efficient deliveries. 

Their user bases and sophisticated algorithms play a major role in driving traffic and sales for cloud kitchens.

Shift Towards Online Ordering Due to the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted consumer behavior in India, particularly when it came to food.  

With strict lockdowns and social distancing measures in place, dine-in restaurants faced unprecedented challenges. This, in turn, fueled a meteoric rise in online food ordering

Surge in Online Orders: A report by Zomato and Bain & Company revealed a 100% growth in online food orders during the initial lockdown period in India.

The pandemic not only increased usage among existing customers but also attracted a new demographic to online food delivery services. People who weren't previously accustomed to online ordering embraced the convenience it offered during lockdowns.

home kitchen

Understanding Cloud Kitchens

Definition and Growth Rate Comparison with Dine-In Restaurants

 

FEATURE

CLOUD KITCHENS

DINE-IN RESTAURANTS

Definition

Delivery-only kitchens with no dine-in area

Restaurants with a physical space for customers to dine in

Growth Rate

High (Estimated CAGR of 12% globally)

Moderate (Estimated CAGR of 7.1% globally)

Growth Driver

Rising online food ordering, convenience

Traditional dining experience

Operational Costs

Lower (Reduced overhead from physical space)

Higher (Rent, staff, utilities for dine-in area)

Scalability

Easier to expand through additional kitchens in different locations

Expansion requires finding and leasing new physical locations

Focus

Menu optimization for delivery (travel well, good presentation)

Ambiance, service, and overall dining experience

Cloud Kitchen Operational Models: 

Cloud kitchens come in various flavors, just like the food they prepare!  Here's a breakdown of the most common operational models:

1. Single-Brand Cloud Kitchen:

  • Concept: Focuses on a single, well-defined cuisine or concept.
  • Pros: Allows for complete control over branding, menu, and recipe standardization.
  • Cons: Limited market reach compared to multi-brand models.

2. Multi-Brand Cloud Kitchen(Example: Kouzina Food Tech)

  • Concept: Operates multiple virtual restaurants under one roof, catering to different cuisines or dietary needs.
  • Pros: Expands target audience and revenue streams by offering variety.
  • Cons: Requires efficient kitchen management and marketing strategies for each virtual brand.

3. Virtual Restaurants:

  • Concept: Exist solely online, leveraging a cloud kitchen for food preparation but lacking a physical presence.
  • Pros: Low initial investment, allows testing new culinary concepts with minimal risk.
  • Cons: Relies heavily on strong online branding and marketing strategies to compete.

4. Shared Kitchen Spaces:

  • Concept: Multiple cloud kitchens operate from a single, fully equipped kitchen facility, sharing resources like equipment and utilities.
  • Pros: Reduces operational costs for individual kitchens by sharing resources.
  • Cons: Less control over kitchen operations and potential competition for resources with other tenants.

5. Aggregator-Managed Cloud Kitchens:

  • Concept: Delivery platforms like Zomato or Swiggy set up and manage cloud kitchens, potentially partnering with established restaurants or chefs.
  • Pros: Benefits from the aggregator's brand recognition and delivery network.
  • Cons: Less control over operations and potentially lower profit margins due to revenue sharing with the platform.

6. Operator-Managed Cloud Kitchens:

  • Concept: Independent businesses own and operate their cloud kitchens, managing all aspects of operations from menu development to delivery.
  • Pros: Full control over branding, menu, and pricing strategy.
  • Cons: Requires significant investment in setup, marketing, and building brand awareness from scratch.

Examples of Successful Cloud Kitchens in India

The Indian cloud kitchen scene is brimming with innovative concepts and delicious fare.  

  • Kouzina Food Tech: Kouzina positions itself as a modern approach to food delivery, focusing on creating delicious experiences for consumers. Started in 2013, Kouzina operates as a successful multi-brand cloud kitchen model, offering a variety of cuisines through distinct virtual restaurants. This allows them to cater to diverse customer preferences. 
  • Rebel Foods (formerly Faasos): This industry leader operates a multi-brand cloud kitchen model with over 11 virtual restaurants under its umbrella, offering popular cuisines like Indian, Mexican, and American.
  • Biryani By Kilo: Specializing in the beloved Indian dish biryani, Biryani By Kilo has carved a niche for itself with its high-quality ingredients, generous portions, and delivery-friendly packaging.
  • Oven Story Pizza: This popular cloud kitchen brand offers gourmet pizzas with unique flavor combinations, catering to a demand for high-quality pizzas delivered fresh to your doorstep.
  • LiveAltLife: This health-focused cloud kitchen offers delicious and nutritious meals catering to various dietary needs, including vegan and gluten-free options.

The Role of Zomato in Promoting Cloud Kitchens

1. From Humble Beginnings to Food Delivery Leader

Zomato's story began in 2008 as a simple online directory featuring restaurant listings in Delhi.  

The founders, Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah, envisioned a platform that would simplify the process of finding and exploring restaurants for diners in India.

Recognizing the growing popularity of online food ordering, Zomato strategically pivoted its focus in 2014, integrating online food ordering capabilities into its platform.

Over the years, Zomato has grown exponentially, establishing itself as a dominant player in the Indian food delivery market.  

Today, it boasts a user base of millions across India and continues to innovate, offering features like online table reservations, grocery delivery, and loyalty programs.

zomato delivery partner

2. Role in Supporting Cloud Kitchens through Listing, Advertising, and Subscription Services

Lots of talented entrepreneurs and chefs today are asking the same question, how to open a cloud kitchen on Zomato? This is because Zomato plays a crucial role in promoting cloud kitchens by offering them a valuable platform to reach customers.

Extensive Listings: 

Cloud kitchens can list their virtual restaurants on Zomato, gaining access to a vast user base of millions of potential customers actively searching for food online, significantly increases their visibility compared to traditional marketing efforts, which may be limited by budget or geographic reach. 

Targeted Advertising:  

Zomato allows cloud kitchens to leverage targeted advertising options to increase brand awareness and attract new customers within their delivery zone. By utilizing Zomato's advertising tools, cloud kitchens can tailor their message to specific demographics or geographic locations, maximizing the impact of their marketing efforts

Subscription Services:  

Zomato offers subscription services like Zomato Pro, which can provide cloud kitchens with increased visibility and potentially higher order volumes through premium placement on the app.  

Zomato Pro users are typically high-frequency food ordering customers, and subscribing to Zomato Pro allows them to enjoy benefits like free delivery or exclusive discounts.

3. Benefits of Listing on Zomato Including Broader Customer Reach and Brand Visibility

Listing on Zomato offers numerous benefits for cloud kitchens:

  • Broader Customer Reach: Gain exposure to millions of potential customers actively using the Zomato app to search for food.
  • Enhanced Brand Visibility: Promote your virtual restaurants through Zomato's platform, increasing brand recognition and customer recall.
  • Convenient Ordering Experience: Allow customers to seamlessly order directly through Zomato, streamlining the ordering and delivery process.

4. Addressing the Challenge of High Commission Rates for Cloud Kitchens on Zomato

While Zomato offers significant benefits, cloud kitchens need to consider the commission rates charged for each order as these commissions can eat into their profit margins.

Menu Pricing Strategy: Factor in Zomato's commission rate when setting menu prices to ensure profitability.

Delivery Fee Optimization: Consider offering a delivery fee cap or free delivery above a certain order value to incentivize larger orders and potentially offset commission costs.

Targeted Marketing Strategy: Focus marketing efforts on direct channels like social media or loyalty programs to encourage direct ordering, reducing reliance on Zomato and potentially lowering commission costs.

By leveraging Zomato's platform strategically and implementing sound business practices, cloud kitchens can mitigate the impact of commission rates while maximizing the benefits of listing on a leading food delivery aggregator.

Also read: Steps to Register for Cloud Kitchen Partnership with Swiggy

Legal Formalities and Registrations

Launching your cloud kitchen in India demands not only culinary expertise but also a solid understanding of legalities. Here's a breakdown of the key legal formalities and registrations you need to navigate:

1. Choosing an Appropriate Business Structure for a Cloud Kitchen

Sole Proprietorship

The simplest and most common option for small cloud kitchens. It offers ease of setup and management, but the owner carries unlimited liability for business debts.

Partnership

Ideal for 2-20 people who want to share ownership, profits, and management responsibilities. Partners have joint and several liability, meaning each partner is fully liable for all business debts.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Provides limited liability protection for owners (shareholders). This structure is more complex to set up and maintain compared to a sole proprietorship or partnership, but it's a good option for businesses aiming for growth or attracting investment. 

2. Essential Licenses and Registrations:

Once you've chosen your structure, secure the necessary licenses and registrations:

  • FSSAI License: Mandatory for all food businesses in India. Obtain an FSSAI Basic Registration for small businesses (turnover below Rs. 12 lakh) or an FSSAI License for larger operations.
  • GST Registration: Required if your annual turnover exceeds Rs. 40 lakh (Rs. 20 lakh in certain states). This allows you to collect and deposit GST (Goods and Services Tax).
  • Shops and Establishments (S&E) License: Issued by local authorities, this license permits the operation of your business premises (applicable in some states).

3. Importance of Considering Trademarks to Protect the Brand

Don't underestimate the importance of trademarks. Registering your brand name and logo protects your intellectual property and prevents others from using them without authorization. This is crucial for establishing brand identity and preventing imitators.

4. Understanding Zomato's Specific Registration Requirements

Zomato typically requires basic business registration documents like a company PAN card, FSSAI license, GST registration certificate, Shop Act License, and bank account details for listing your virtual restaurant(s) on their platform. 

Steps to Open a Cloud Kitchen on Zomato

We have already discussed the eligibility requirements for opening a cloud kitchen with  Zomato. Let us move on to the next steps:

Linking Your Cloud Kitchen to Zomato:

Once you're prepped, it's time to connect with Zomato:

  • Create a Business Account: Visit the Zomato partner portal and register your business. You'll need basic information like your business name, contact details, and registration documents.
  • Complete Registration: Provide details like your FSSAI license number, GST registration (if applicable), menu items with descriptions and photos, pricing, and your chosen delivery radius.
  • Verification and Approval: Zomato will review your registration and might conduct a basic verification process. Once approved, your virtual restaurant(s) will be listed on the Zomato platform.

Optimizing for Success:

Now that you're on Zomato, here are some tips to maximize your visibility and profitability:

  • Menu Creation: Use high-quality photos and clear descriptions to entice customers. Offer combo options or highlight bestsellers to attract attention.
  • Compliance & Hygiene: Maintain the highest hygiene standards in your kitchen and ensure accurate menu descriptions to avoid customer complaints.
  • Listing Optimization: Regularly update your menu, photos, and descriptions to keep your virtual restaurant listing fresh and engaging. Utilize Zomato's advertising features if your budget allows to increase brand awareness.
  • Efficient Order Management: Invest in a robust order management system to streamline order processing, avoid errors, and ensure timely deliveries.

Understanding Zomato's Commission Fees and Optimizing Operations for Profitability

 Zomato charges commission fees on each order placed through its platform.  These fees can vary depending on factors like your location and the type of cuisine you offer.

Here are some ways to optimize operations and potentially offset commission costs:

Menu Pricing Strategy: Factor in Zomato's commission fees when setting menu prices to maintain profitability.

Delivery Fee Optimization: Consider offering a delivery fee cap or free delivery above a certain order value to incentivize larger orders and help offset commission costs.

Running a Cloud Kitchen

Cloud kitchens offer a dynamic and potentially profitable avenue for culinary entrepreneurs. Here's a roadmap to navigate the key aspects of running a successful cloud kitchen:

1. The Profitability Triangle: Balancing Flavor, Quality, and Value

  • Menu Diversity: Offer a variety of dishes or cater to specific dietary needs (vegan, gluten-free) to attract a wider audience.
  • Quality Control: Fresh ingredients, consistent preparation, and impeccable hygiene are non-negotiables. Disappointed customers won't return.
  • Competitive Pricing: Factor in food costs, Zomato commissions (if applicable), and your desired profit margin. Don't underprice yourself, but be mindful of staying competitive.

2.  Excellent Service, Seamless Delivery, Strategic Marketing: 

Respond promptly to inquiries, address issues professionally, and go the extra mile to build customer loyalty. Positive online reviews are gold!

Utilize social media platforms, explore Zomato advertising (if budget allows), or offer direct ordering incentives (loyalty programs, discounts) to build brand awareness and attract new customers.

3. Addressing Common Concerns: 

GST for Home Kitchens: If your annual turnover is below Rs. 40 lakh (or Rs. 20 lakh in some states), GST registration is not mandatory. However, it becomes mandatory if you exceed this threshold.

You might be interested in: Top Online Food Delivery Apps in 2024

Conclusion

The Indian food industry is witnessing a boom in cloud kitchens, offering a low-investment, high-growth model for culinary entrepreneurs. We hope all your questions regarding cloud kitchens and their integration with Zomato were answered here. 

We have to realize that platforms like Zomato play a vital role in a cloud kitchen’s success by providing a vast customer base and essential listing services. If you're brimming with culinary passion and a dash of business acumen, starting a cloud kitchen can be an exciting opportunity.

However, remember that success requires a delicious balance between creativity and data-driven decisions. 

Calling all passionate foodies and business mavericks!  Are you dreaming of owning your own restaurant but without the hefty overhead costs? Then look no further than a Kouzina franchise!

Table of content

Get in Touch Now!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get in Touch Now!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.