Top 7 Cloud Kitchens in the UAE in 2024

Top 7 cloud kitchens in the uae

What Is a Cloud Kitchen?

Currently on a growing trend, cloud kitchens, also known as ghost kitchens, virtual, or dark kitchens, rose to popularity during and post-Covid time, when the convenience of online ordering and food delivery became the norm.

A cloud kitchen basically describes a space that is leased to restaurant businesses, exclusively focused on preparing and delivering online orders or take out meals. These spaces are fitted with professional cooking equipment, and they must comply with the health and safety regulations of a traditional restaurant, including permits and licenses, food safety, and sanitation.

While some traditional restaurants have the capability to operate cloud kitchens, cloud kitchens can’t operate in dine-in settings. With no physical dining spaces, the business model of cloud kitchen allows increased flexibility, as there are no associated risks with opening new locations and bringing customers in, or investing in front-of-house staff. For cloud kitchen owners, this means lower investments, but also increased agility to adapt to multiple customer tastes and preferences. 

The collaboration with third party delivery apps, as well as the agility to adapt to multiple customer preferences broadens the customer base, hence another reason why virtual kitchens are increasingly popular throughout the world.

Statistics about Cloud Kitchen

Globally, the overall food delivery market is expected to reach $340 Billion by 2030. Out of this, the gross share of the cloud kitchen market is expected to be 23%, namely $80.9 Billion by 2030

Important factors for this growth include the rise of technology that make virtual kitchens an easily accessible market, but also the availability of delivery apps and the smooth integration with third-party aggregation platforms like UrbanPiper, making delivery easy through multiple delivery apps, like Talabat, Deliveroo, Careem, UberEats, etc.

There are currently over 400 cloud kitchens in the UAE, operating from 80 locations, most of them based in Dubai. The UAE cloud kitchen market was estimated at $275.61 Million in 2023, and is set to hit $1,060.12 Million by 2030. This forecast shows a high interest in this growing market, which is only encouraged to grow by other similar trends in the F&B market, like the predilection for takeouts and food delivery that continues to shape people’s behavior all over the world.

This puts a pressure on traditional restaurants who, in addition to handling the dine-in orders, also need to handle the online delivery and/or takeout orders. This is particularly challenging during the high demand times like lunch or dinner, when customers order both on restaurants’ premises and at remote locations (be that home or work office delivery). 

The capacity of handling a higher than normal volume of dishes, for both offline and online customers is balanced with the rise of cloud kitchens, who allow restaurants to focus more on the on-premise guests, while ghost kitchens take orders from clients who order delivery and take out dishes.

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Top 7 Cloud Kitchens in the UAE

Deliveroo Editions

Deliveroo Editions has been operating in the virtual kitchens space since 2017. Currently it has cloud kitchen spaces in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In addition to providing a custom kitchen, with everything needed for proper kitchen functionality, including storing space, cooking equipment, packaging and delivering area, Deliveroo Editions also provide dispatch operations, including an account manager that handles all logistical hassle like rider pick up, appliance maintenance, etc.

Kactus Cloud Kitchen 

Kactus Cloud Kitchen is a startup cloud kitchen founded in 2021, operating multiple cuisines and virtual kitchens. Their first location was in Dubai Marina, and it is expanding to other locations in the UAE and GCC area. 

Sweetheart Kitchen

Sweetheart Kitchen is a multi brand virtual kitchen that provides healthy and affordable dishes across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. With their new culinary experience philosophy, clients are invited to build their own meals, creating their own rice bowls, salads, quinoa, and more.

Ikcon

Ikcon is a fast growing cloud kitchen in the UAE and KSA, preparing dishes from across various cuisines that are delivered to multiple restaurants and served to clients in physical locations. Acting like a central kitchen, this is a testament of the quality of their food, on which restaurants in the area depend for delighting their clientele.

Talabat Cloud Kitchen

Leveraging on their popular delivery system that needs no introduction, Talabat diversified its services to include cloud kitchen since 2020. Their business model for the virtual kitchen is to prepare dishes for restaurants like Dunkin, Din Tai Fung, Firefly Burger and many other beloved restaurant brands.

Rebel Foods

Operating 11 virtual kitchen brands in the UAE, Rebel Foods is one of the largest internet restaurants in the world, with 450 such establishments (latest data since 2022), and over 4,000 franchises. Known for their Indian dishes, their brands include Faasos, Behrouz Biryani and Oven Story.

Kitch

Available in the UAE and KSA since 2021, Kitch cloud kitchen operates on a hybrid model. It offers a mix of new and existing brands in the region in addition to international franchises. Their goal is to provide the restaurant experience to customers in the comfort of their homes, and to provide a platform for restaurants to increase their customer base both in physical locations and beyond.

What makes cloud kitchens successful?

There are several reasons for which cloud kitchens are successful, and being aware of these, can make the difference between a cloud kitchen that performs very well and another one that struggles. Here are some of the most important factors that contribute to the success of the ghost kitchens:

Quality Food

Despite operating without a physical dining space, cloud kitchens prioritize the quality of their food offerings. Maintaining consistency, freshness, and taste is crucial for customer satisfaction and repeat business.

Location

Strategic placement in areas with high demand and low competition is crucial for success. Cloud kitchens can operate in less expensive locations compared to traditional restaurants, but proximity to densely populated areas is still essential for order fulfillment and delivery efficiency.

Efficient Operations

Cloud kitchens focus on efficiency and automation to streamline operations. This includes optimizing kitchen layout to only include the items required for cooking and packaging, utilizing technology for order management and food preparation, and implementing standardized processes to increase productivity.

Technology plays a significant role in simplifying cloud kitchens’ operations, and a restaurant ERP is essential for natively connecting purchase, inventory and accounting with ordering systems, as well as with delivery platforms. In the absence of this native integration, chefs, who are often the owners or managers of such cloud kitchens, would spend more time in front of spreadsheets, or in warehouses, or negotiating with suppliers for better prices, than actually cooking. 

Adaptability

Cloud kitchens must remain adaptable and responsive to evolving consumer preferences, market trends, and regulatory changes. Flexibility in menu offerings, service models, and business strategies allows operators to stay competitive and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

For this type of food business, changing menus, based on clients’ taste preferences is easier than in classical restaurant kitchens. This is because the clients are not the ones coming to eat at the location, but the food gets delivered to clients, who can be anywhere in the proximity of the cloud kitchen establishment. Therefore, adapting the menu based on the most frequently requested dishes is easier in a ghost kitchen than in a restaurant, where clients are visiting restaurants specifically for the food they offer on their menus.

Technology Integration

Cloud kitchens utilize technology for various aspects of their operations, including online ordering platforms, POS systems, inventory management software, and delivery logistics tools. Integration of these technologies enhances efficiency, accuracy, and customer experience. 

Even better than integrating these systems separately, having a natively built system that includes all these, and more, enables automation and standardization of processes, which increases operational efficiency. Furthermore, an all-in-one, unified system, like a restaurant ERP, helps owners always have access to their data, which is essential for understanding the financial health of the business and making important business decisions.

Data-Driven Decisions

Access to data and analytics allows cloud kitchens to make informed decisions regarding menu optimization, pricing strategies, marketing efforts, and operational improvements. Analyzing customer preferences, order patterns, and market trends helps optimize business performance.

But in addition to this, a restaurant ERP with integrated AI consultant provides more than data to support decision making. Based on the analysis of all numbers from across the multiple systems natively deployed into the platform, an AI-powered restaurant ERP provides insights and recommendations into what actions to take in order to reach specific business goals, whether these are increasing revenues, decreasing costs, or enhancing customer satisfaction, etc.

For example, the Menu Pair Analysis that comes with the AI-integrated restaurant ERP solution can provide insights about what items to bring together in a combo, based on their popularity (how frequently they were ordered together, as individual items), a recommendation that, when applied, will increase revenues, even by up to 20%.

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