Following the success of its cloud kitchen concept in Indonesia and several other Southeast Asian countries, Grab has opened its first GrabKitchen in Singapore. The leading lifestyle super app also announced a merchant platform that will provide tools for F&B merchant-partners of all sizes to expand their businesses.
Grab’s first cloud kitchen is located in Hillview, Singapore, which will serve customers in the northwest of Singapore. Consumers in surrounding Hillview districts like Cashew, Bukit Batok, Bukit Gombak and Toh Tuk can have food and beverage options delivered on-demand to their door via the familiar Grab app. Customers can also take a short walk to the Grab Kitchen and opt to dine-in or do a self-pickup to save on deliver fees.
The cloud kitchen brings over 10 F&B brands including three new virtual restaurants namely Lady Boss Mala by the founder of Thai Dynasty; Waboru by JR Group as well as Tiffin Walla by Co-Kitchens.
The sixth GrabFood hub brings popular hawker food, coveted FMCG and packaged food brands such as Asia Pacific Breweries’ Heineken and Tiger beers, as well as dangerously addictive salted egg snacks by Irvins and Beverages by Playmade, one of Singapore’s homegrown bubble team brands.
The beauty about GrabKitchen is that it enables customers to order a variety of cuisine and popular food from a single location. Using data science, Grab gains insights on what types of food and food brands that are in demand within a location. These insights also help fill gaps in cuisine demands and can drive up GrabExpress driver-rider utilisation rates, better anticipate customer demand, and overall make operations more efficient.
The cloud kitchen concept in a nutshell involves a shared kitchen where multiple merchants co-exist in a central location. This enables food businesses from moms and pops, small businesses and popular local hero brands to build a food delivery business with low risk and low cost.
They also gain instant access to the Grab network, effectively expanding their reach and customer base. GrabKitchen solves the key pain points experienced by merchants—scouting for a location within budget, time-consuming and costly renovation, marketing and logistics. Grab calls this a “truly plug-and-play” model where merchants can onboard for relatively low cost.
Initially 100 percent focused on food delivery, Grab has embarked on a hybrid dine-in model after successful trials in Indonesia. I had the opportunity to visit the very first hybrid dine-in GrabKitchen at Capital Place, Kota Jakarta Selatan back in September last year.
Grab currently has 50 cloud kitchens across five Southeast Asia countries and plans to expand this network further in 2020.
GrabFood began its regional expansion in May 2018 after acquiring Uber’s regional operations in the region, which include UberEats. It’s now the only regional food delivery platform operating in 271 cities across seven Southeast Asian countries. GrabFood is the most used food delivery platform in the Southeast Asian countries (Data: Kantar).
So, will we see a GrabKitchen in Malaysia soon? It’s a questions of when, not if, I’m sure.
“Stay tuned,” said Sai Alluri, Head of GrabKitchen, when I asked him the question in Jakarta last year.