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Indonesia’s F&B Sector Gets a Tech Boost

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An Indonesian food-tech company has figured out a way to make running cloud kitchen networks even more asset-light. The company partners with home kitchens instead of renting or buying facilities. It currently works with almost 100 home kitchens in Jakarta and focuses on small- to medium-sized F&B brands, serving as their last-mile delivery network.

Cloud kitchens are already meant to reduce the burden of infrastructure on food and beverage brands by providing them with centralised facilities to prepare meals for delivery. This means the responsibility falls on cloud kitchen operators to make sure they have enough locations to meet demand from F&B clients while ensuring fast deliveries to end customers.

The developers realised that since many restaurants had to switch to online orders and delivery to survive the pandemic, their system could potentially be an equaliser for small F&B brands that compete with larger players. But lockdowns meant that a lot of people had to pick from a limited range of restaurants close to where they lived. At the same time, the developers saw that there were a lot of people who wanted to make more money but could not work outside of their homes, like stay-at-home moms.

The cloud-based platform was created to connect all three sides: F&B brands that want to expand without spending a lot of money, home entrepreneurs and diners hungry for more food options. The company works with F&B brands that typically have between just one to 15 retail locations and want to increase their deliveries without opening new outlets. Clients also include cloud kitchen companies who use its home kitchen network for last-mile distribution to expand their delivery coverage and catering services. The brands do not have to incur any upfront costs and it is a cheaper way to distribute as well because they don’t have to pay for electricity, plumbing and other things like that, said the tech developer.

Before adding a home kitchen to its network, the tech company screens applicants by asking them to send in a series of photos, then doing an in-person check. If a kitchen is accepted, they upgrade it, so it has the same equipment and functionality as the other home kitchens in its network.

After joining the cloud-based platform, F&B brands pick what home kitchens they want to work with, and then distribute ingredients to kitchens, using the platform’s real-time dashboard to monitor stock. Some ingredients have a shelf life of up to six months, while perishables, like produce, dairy and eggs, are delivered daily.

Also, the company makes sure standard operating procedures and hygiene standards are being maintained through frequent online audits. Agents, or kitchen operators, regularly submit photos and videos of kitchens based on a checklist (i.e., food preparation area, floors, walls, hand-washing area and the inside of their freezers).

The tech company plans to focus on growing its network in Jakarta until at least the end of this year, before expanding into other cities.

Recently, as reported by OpenGov Asia, a Singaporean multinational ride-hailing company announced that it has collaborated with an Indonesia-based food solutions provider to develop cloud-based kitchens in Indonesia. This cloud kitchen or virtual restaurant is claimed to be a form of business to develop the digital economy in the country. With this collaboration, the two companies will open more than 80 locations operated by both.

For the ride-hailing giant, the collaboration not only helps them support the expansion of the culinary business more comprehensively but also opens more opportunities for businesses to test new menus and concepts to stay ahead. According to them, this cooperative step is suitable, as they are also a food delivery platform while the food solutions company handles operational management.

The benefits obtained by their merchants cover at least four things. First, operational management will be directly guided by the two companies. Next, they will be connected directly to the delivery network owned by the two companies. Then, their promotion of brands that are within the scope of the food delivery app has an existing consumer base that is ready to try various kinds of innovative menus and flavours.


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