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How the world eats is changing dramatically. A little under two decades ago, restaurant-quality meal delivery was still largely limited to foods such as pizza and Chinese. Nowadays, food delivery has become a global market worth more than $150 billion, having more than tripled since 2017. In the United States, the market has more than doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic, following healthy historical growth of 8 percent.


A cloud kitchen utilizes a commercial kitchen for the purpose of preparing food for delivery or takeout only, with no dine-in customers.


Cloud kitchens enable restauranteurs to expand an existing restaurant or start a virtual brand at minimal cost. This provides restauranteurs with the opportunity to scale, explore new markets, or trial new concepts. Many restaurants use cloud kitchens as an experimental space, optimizing staff and inventory while testing new ideas.


There are several types of cloud kitchen business models:

In a shared space cloud kitchen model, restaurant owners use their own staff and produce, but the space and equipment are owned by a third party. The shared kitchen space may be used by several businesses, each looking to prepare dine-at-home food without the overhead of a restaurant.


A dedicated space cloud kitchen model is a space rented (or purchased) by a brand solely for their own use. They may decide to use one or more different concepts in the location, but do not have other brands operating with them.


Cloud kitchens can be used to launch an entirely new business or concept - also known as virtual restaurants or virtual brands. A virtual brand operates out of an established kitchen and allows the business to test new concepts without heavy investment.


Whether you call it a cloud kitchen, virtual kitchen, shadow kitchen, commissary kitchen, dark kitchen, or ghost kitchen, at its core, it’s a restaurant that primarily handles digital orders. They can operate within the kitchen of an established brand or on their own but are typically accessible online. Despite having several names, they have similar characteristics and exist to serve customers delivery-only meals.


Supported by fast demand of takeout service, global Cloud Kitchen market size is projected to reach US$ 140.5 billion by 2027, from US$ 78.6 billion in 2020, at a CAGR of 7.63% during 2021-2027.


CloudKitchens, REEF Technology, Panda Selected, Keatz and Kitchen United are the key players in the global Cloud Kitchen market. The industry is highly fragmented and Top 5 took up about 8% revenue share globally  in 2020.


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