I distinctly remember one mid-pandemic house party I hosted for my high school barkada. I managed to save up enough for a little luxury, so when afternoon games and catch-ups died down, I announced that our entire dinner was my treat.
That made my friends stay longer. We still had a lot to talk about! I started asking about their favorite restaurants so I could dial them up. But somewhere down the line, the conversation switched to deciding on the most efficient food delivery services, and my ex-turned-best friend suggested that we order from a cloud kitchen instead. My high school mates — all gracefully grown up, bless them — agreed, citing how I could save on delivery fees and support small businesses at the same time.
I look back to that house party whenever a friend of a friend would slide into my Viber or WhatsApp, offering homemade cupcakes, desserts, or condiments as part of their new “family business”. Most of the restaurants in that cloud kitchen weren’t even household names yet. They were run by passionate microentrepreneurs, enabled and encouraged by technology to take the future into their own hands.
Order your next favorite comfort meal.
Kitchen Hero will deliver it to your doorstep.
What does the food industry look like now?
The food and beverage industry was among those most crippled by the pandemic. Casual drinks and coffees with officemates also dropped to a minimum, which led to the closure of several upscale cafes all over the metro. We had to cut back on celebrating milestones by dining out, and instead ordered party boxes and group feasts to share with our family and friends.
Here’s a summary of what some Filipinos have experienced throughout those years, which we’ll discuss further in this article. You might relate to some of them.
- Popular food delivery apps host hundreds of restaurants for customers to choose from, but small businesses such as home-based kitchens find it hard to compete with major food retailers simply because they are only a few swipes away on the same app.
- Small food businesses usually rely on their personal network (such as family or friends) for daily operations and staffing, which makes menu availability unpredictable for potential customers.
- To save time and gasoline expenses, riders sometimes carry shopping parcels alongside food deliveries — compromising the quality of food.
- Ordering from different restaurants literally means ordering from different physical kitchens around the city, which multiplies delivery fees and makes ordering food online less efficient for customers.
- Small food businesses carry a lot of overhead costs, which puts extra pressure on business owners to establish higher price points if they want to last long in the market.
Food remains an integral factor in how Filipinos navigate and make sense of our lives. Stress eating keeps us sane across work-from-home setups, while small food businesses keep family budgets and friendships afloat. In short, #FoodIsLife.
But now that we’re slowly easing out of the pandemic, it’s high time that we address these issues with concrete action.
The problem with food delivery
Admit it: it’s too easy to opt out of an up-and-coming craft burger when a good old-fashioned Whopper, which could sate your appetite just the same, is just a few swipes away.
In that case, you’re going to eventually dread scrolling FoodPanda and GrabFood for the same meals you’ve been ordering for the past two pandemic-ravaged years. Because when your appetite’s already ravenous for any kind of good meal, what else is gonna stop you from going for the tried-and-tested major restaurant chains, even if their options had the same old flavor you’re used to?
Suppose you’re anything like me who can’t cut down on the leftovers piling up in my fridge on Thursday nights because I haven’t yet mastered the art of weekly meal-planning. But even if you pin up hundreds of flyers for home-based food retailers on your fridge, chances are that there will still be days when those small businesses aren’t available to take orders. SMEs are operated by a small staff, usually family members or a group of friends, which can sometimes make daily operations rocky and affect the meals themselves.
Customer service matters most
Perhaps you’re one of those budding business owners trying to make as much income as possible by offering homemade goodies to your managers and officemates living two cities away. In that case, you’re going to want an affordable food delivery service partner who won’t treat your precious cupcakes like a bubble-wrapped Shopee parcel. Food needs extra care while shipping, don’t they?
Many local delivery services started and became well-known for efficiently transporting packages across regions and provinces. However, this parcel-first business model can get icky for food delivery services, especially for restaurant owners who want to differentiate themselves from the fast-food joints and big-name businesses on the same platform.
Whether it’s in transporting quick solo breakfasts or dinner party feasts, one of the main priorities of many local restaurants is to ensure that their carefully prepared meals arrive fresh at the doorsteps of their hungry customers. Home-based food retailers, however, don’t always have the benefit of a dedicated delivery service provider.
Additionally, having one-to-one delivery fees isn’t always an optimal situation. If you’ve ever hosted a house party and found that every friend wanted to order from different restaurants, you can just imagine how excessive the delivery fees can get when you receive a wave of delivery riders at your doorstep!
Cloud kitchens are the new normal
The race to provide superior meal delivery services was found in cloud kitchens, which have now been dubbed “the future of the food and beverage industry”. In its simplest form, cloud kitchens (also called dark kitchens, ghost kitchens, or virtual kitchens) sell meals exclusively through delivery. Customers only need to place and pay for their orders through technology-enabled platforms such as mobile apps, social media, or websites, and a dedicated rider will deliver their meals at any given address.
Cloud kitchens thrive by cutting the many overhead expenses of delivery services, property rental, cooking equipment, office utilities, and paid advertising. These exceptional business benefits allow many merchants to focus on improving their food selections, preparing their meals, and experimenting with new recipes — and in turn, keep customers coming for more.
Successful cloud kitchens host a number of individual food brands, often of different cuisines, on specific virtual platforms. This selection of brands allows cloud kitchens to ensure that each of their merchants gets a chance to present their menu items to their target market, without having to compete with bigger restaurant chains for brand recognition.
From a customer’s perspective though, all it means is that we can easily order from more than one restaurant and have it delivered to a specified address, without having to pay extra delivery fees. It’s just like walking into a restaurant and having to pay only one service fee — or none at all.
A digital food court
Here at HOLA Philippines, we make food e-commerce secure by presenting the efficient, user-friendly website Kitchen Hero, where customers can purchase meals without having to download new apps or create new digital wallets.
Kitchen Hero is home to a number of homegrown food brands, namely:
HOLA is an experimental and eco-friendly resto-bar that combines sustainability, creativity, and playfulness in every dish and cocktail. From all-time favorites to experimental flavors, HOLA presents a wide range of eclectic food offers which can satisfy all palates.
Tagpuan is a Filipino restaurant that features classic local recipes and new fusion favorites. Originally based in San Juan, La Union, Tagpuan now offers comfort foods best for winding down and sharing good times with friends and loved ones.
The Deliceuse Mess Bakery offers a range of pastries made to satisfy more than just your sweet tooth. The Bakery’s revel bars, brownies, muffins, and cookies are also perfect for munching in between work calls house chores.
Ebi-Ko offers classic Japanese cuisine favorites such as maki, rolls, kani salad, and donburi. Want a healthy option for full meals? Choose from Ebi-Ko’s selection of bento boxes!
Kitchen Hero is the first cloud kitchen operated by HOLA Philippines, an upscale F&B restaurant bar in Mandaluyong that highlights an “Eat Drink Play” lifestyle for its customers. HOLA aims to deliver pure pleasure and warmth in every bite with its partner restaurants. Whether you’re hosting a party with friends, having an intimate dinner, or just satisfying your cravings after a fully loaded week, Kitchen Hero has you covered.
A fast-growing cloud kitchen in Metro Manila
Kitchen Hero harnesses the most innovative digital technology to ensure that all aspects of the cloud kitchen model contribute to the best interests of its merchants, riders, and customers.
Kitchen Hero employs a fleet of riders from our nationwide delivery partners such as Dingdong PH, all of which are professionally trained to handle your orders with utmost care. You’ll definitely save on delivery fees even if you order from several of our restaurants, and directly tip the driver for their speed and good service.
Kitchen Hero also covers the day-to-day operational expenses of our merchant restaurants, saving food brand owners precious time and effort in managing their business and growing their customer base. Our web platform also ensures that customers of any computer literacy can order food with ease and efficiency.
Enabled by technology and fueled by the passion to serve the nation’s appetite for good food, Kitchen Hero is a big leap in making business innovations more accessible to every Filipino.
Fastfood and restaurant chains owned by multinational corporations are household names all over the country, but cloud kitchens and food delivery service providers enable local businesses to have a competitive footing in the food industry today. Let’s support homegrown talents by ordering your next meal at Kitchen Hero now!