A cloud kitchen — also known as a ghost kitchen or shared kitchen — offers restaurant owners and food entrepreneurs commercial kitchen space at a discounted price for food delivery and takeout. This trend is making rounds in the restaurant industry. More and more food entrepreneurs are turning to cloud kitchens to reduce operational costs and capture the explosive growth of food delivery.
A startup based in Manila called CloudEatswhich operates cloud kitchens in the Philippines and Vietnam, just raised a $7 million Series A expansion led by Nordstar to accelerate the digitization of food services in Southeast Asia.
On the back of its successful launch in Vietnam earlier this year, the startup plans to push further into Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia in 2023, co-founder and CEO Kimberly Yao said in an interview.
“The tremendous growth of our business in Vietnam over the past two quarters is very encouraging,” Yao said. “We’re taking best practices along with key learnings for our next launch.”
The cloud kitchen market in Asia is projected to grow at 14.2% annually from 2021 to 2027; the food delivery market in Southeast Asia is expected to reach $49.7 billion by 2030up from $15.2 billion in 2021.
The startup had seven cloud kitchen locations in the Philippines when it raised its Series A in October 2021; now it works 25 haunted kitchens through the Philippines and Vietnam, Yao told TechCrunch. The volume of revenue in Vietnam has grown 4 times since April this year compared to October last year, according to Yao.
The latest funding will also allow CloudEats to grow its brands, expand its team and double down on investments in shared kitchen technology.
CloudEats co-founder Jacopo Rovere said the company’s main focus over the next 12 months will be advancing its suite of integrated foodservice SaaS solutions and strengthening brand building and marketing efforts. Now there is more than 30 brands in the Philippines and over 20 in Vietnaminclusive Burger Beast24/7 eats, sulit chicken, Pia’s kitchenand A healthy appetiteand expands its portfolio.
CloudEats has a hybrid cloud kitchen and cloud restaurant model, where the company is not only the operator of the infrastructure, but also the owner of the digitally native brands.
“Today, we own and operate over 50 online-optimized restaurant brands that we create and operate exclusively in the Philippines and Vietnam,” Yao told TechCrunch. “Our very own smart kitchen technology integrated with food delivery platforms allows us to quickly scale and grow the business.”
Yao, a serial entrepreneur with more than ten years of R&D experience in on-demand retail and e-commerce, co-founded CloudEats in 2019 with Jacopo Rovere, former CEO of Foodpanda, who has extensive experience in food delivery services in Berlin and India. CloudEats says it has served more than 2.5 million orders.
Along with the previous round of $5 million, the latest capital brings its total funding to $14 million.
“As a global investor in the cloud kitchen space, we are capturing the white space in the food delivery market in Southeast Asia through our investment in CloudEats,” said Kimberly Ong, director of Nordstar. “CloudEats is generating the best brand and cuisine-level economics we’ve seen in the market, and it’s all because of not only the company’s advanced technology and operations backbone, but also the team’s unique data and partnership-oriented approach, to build a brand.”