The cloud kitchen or ghost kitchen or dark kitchen concept is a newborn yet has received colossal recognition over the past few years. One of the significant reasons is that the pandemic situation left no option, and the only feasible idea to run a business at that time was being only virtual. People started to accept it and enjoyed ordering food at home as it was convenient and cozy. Many small businesses have been created in this arena and are running full-fledged cloud kitchens. A fascinating fact with cloud kitchens is that all the space can be used as a kitchen, and several brands can be produced and run simultaneously. Many audiences are interested to know how to build up a cloud kitchen. Here is the guide for those who want to get their hands on establishing a new cloud kitchen in Bangladesh.

First, people need to have a clear idea of a cloud kitchen.

A cloud kitchen is similar to a restaurant kitchen that accepts incoming orders; the only differences are it takes orders via online ordering systems and offers no dine-in facility. Cloud kitchens can be called dark kitchens, ghost kitchens, virtual restaurants, and satellite kitchens. They can build their website to take an order or an online ordering app or accept orders through the various food delivery platforms like Pathao Food or Foodpanda, along with these two.

Now let’s discuss all the crucial steps to know while starting a new cloud kitchen business, specifically in Bangladesh.

Step 1: Start with deciding on a location 

A perfect location plays a vital role for other traditional restaurants. On the contrary, a cloud kitchen location doesn’t affect that much. There’s no need to think about where customers can park their vehicles, the security system, or a cozy area. The most important thing here is the proper sanitation and water supply with low rentals, along with demographic factors, such as the potential buyers, what kind of food will be served, the demand for the offered food, etc. For example, if you want to start a cloud kitchen in Dhaka, ideally, you should be targeting areas like Gulshan, Banani, Dhanmondi, and Bashundhara R/A, where the online order numbers are significantly higher in comparison to other locations.

Step 2: Acquiring required licenses to run the business

Few licenses are the must-have to run a legal and hassle-free business. If you are planning to form a private limited-company to run your cloud kitchen business, the first step should be to get a Name Clearance for your cloud kitchen company, prepare the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association, and register your company at the RJSC (The Registrar of Joint Stock Companies & Firms). Once that is sorted, you will be required to get a Trade License, followed by TIN and VAT certification. For running a cloud kitchen in particular, you will also require a Fire License and Health Certification. Getting this done alone can be time-consuming, so hiring a professional will be a good option. Make sure to print and hang the guidelines of the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority on your premises before starting your operations

Step 3: Finding the suitable online order system

Where you are all set with the location now, all you need to think of is an online order system that will be more convenient for the type of business you will start. It can be owning a website or food app, or you can take the service of already established food delivery apps like Pathao, or Foodpanda. The food delivery app charges a 20% to 30 % commission per order. A website with esthetic food photography and an ordering system might be a good option in this case. To make it more authentic, you can introduce a system where customers can track their orders in real-time.

Step 4: Buying the necessary equipment

The cost of setting up the kitchen will vary depending upon the cuisine a cloud kitchen will offer. Suppose setting up a cloud kitchen that wants to serve items like Burgers, Pizza, Pasta, and Sandwiches will not cost more than BDT. 10 Lacs. An estimated cost of the basic equipment will be as followed:

  1. Bain-Marie with Chiller: BDT. 130,000 
  2. 4 Burner Set Stove: BDT. 60,000 
  3. Hot Plate with BBQ System: BDT. 60,000 
  4. Gas Pizza Oven: BDT. 95,000 
  5. Gas Deep Fryer: BDT. 55,000 
  6. Refrigerator: BDT. 35,000 
  7. Freezer: BDT. 25,000 
  8. Microwave Oven: BDT. 20,000 
  9. Double Sink: BDT. 38,000 
  10. Single Sink: BDT. 27,000 
  11. Kitchen Ventilation: BDT. 7,000/Running Feet
  12. Preparation Table: BDT. 22,000

Step 5: Hiring the right team

The success secret of a cloud kitchen laid a lot on the Head Chef and the assistants who help. Their proper R&D makes an alluring menu that customers can’t resist. So, hiring productive, creative, and consistent staff is the master sauce here. Depending on the size and menu, the requirements can change. Three cooks and a head chef should be enough for a small-sized cloud kitchen. Their wages can vary depending on the market demand and working hours. A basic estimate will be BDT. 15,000 to BDT. 20,000 for Cooks and BDT. 35,000 for a Head Chef. There should be some HR policies to follow and maintain the work environment properly from the very start.

Step 5: Point Of Sale Technology

The entire online food ordering and delivery system strongly depend on the proper maintenance of food orders. It is also essential to keep track of the number of orders incoming from the various online ordering platforms. Tracking of orders and detailed reporting is critical to the smooth functioning of restaurants. So, there should be one software completely browser-based. You can use any web-enabled device such as a computer, laptop, tablet, or even your mobile to generate the bills and VAT invoices.

Step 6: Other Miscellaneous Items

A cloud kitchen requires multiple mobile phones or tablets, high-speed internet, stationery, small counters, and chairs. There should be a computer and a printer which will be required to regularly print SOPs and Food Handling guidelines.

Step 7: Unique Marketing Activities

Catchy marketing and advertising strategy are essential for establishing a new cloud kitchen. Marketing becomes even more necessary for a cloud kitchen as it becomes the single source of getting orders. Since you are not spending on location and other maintenance costs, you must keep a sum aside for marketing. First, you need to open Facebook and Instagram accounts. Then keep updating and posting now and then. Keep posting real-reels of making a portion of food, and post stories every day. Campaigns like discounts, BOGO offers, or special occasion offers should run and be marketed to potential customers.

In all honestly, setting up a cloud kitchen is the easy part; running it is a daunting task. Imagine waking up at 5:00 AM daily and visiting Kawran Bazar to get your groceries. Even before that, you need to spend months in R&D to create a unique menu concept, given that you manage to hire a creative Head Chef, which is extremely rare in Bangladesh. Adding more to that, the continuous marketing-related expenses and activities and the pain of hiring and training the kitchen staff. 

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