Online food delivery and q-commerce platform, talabat, has announced that there are lots of opportunities for F&B players in the UAE to expand on cloud kitchen concepts, especially with the sizable increase in online orders over the past year.
Speaking at a recent hybrid event, Jérémy Doutté, vice president of talabat UAE, highlighted how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the online food delivery sphere, paving the way for new concepts to grow.
“The cloud kitchen model is the future which will support the UAE’s business ecosystem,” he said. “Clearly, Covid-19 has been a huge catalyst of changed consumer behavior. However, even before the pandemic, we witnessed a lot of consumer behaviours that impacted the food delivery business. The growth in q-commerce, specifically, is something that we haven’t seen before.”
The Cloud Kitchen concept is a delivery-only venture, with no dine-in facility, offering restaurants a cost and time efficient way to fulfill larger order volumes. Also known as ‘dark kitchens’, they also help restaurants reduce overall operation costs usually tied to traditional brick and mortar establishments. This tech-enabled facility reduces delivery time below, allowing customers to receive their orders in under 30 minutes.
A recent survey conducted by POSist and Dubai Restaurants Group, under the patronage of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, showed that 70 per cent of otherwise dine-in players are now exploring the idea of investing in cloud kitchens themselves.
As of June 2021, talabat has seven cloud kitchens in the UAE, with plans to launch 12 more by the end of the year – each catering to 25-35 brands. By growing its cloud kitchens’ offering, talabat will not only be supporting SMEs by facilitating their entry into the market at a lower cost, but also by allowing established restaurants to expand their business and reach with reduced costs.
Doutté also highlighted a strong recovery in talabat’s UAE market during the first half of 2021. After suffering a heavy drop in orders at the beginning of the pandemic, online orders almost doubled in H1 2021, compared to the previous year.
“In the first half of the year, our online orders increased by over 90 per cent and downloads of the talabat app grew by over 100 per cent compared to the same period last year,” he said. “This comes as no surprise as the UAE is one of the most mature markets globally when it comes to infrastructure for ecommerce and logistics, with Internet penetration and e-payment considered amongst the highest in the region and the world, which offers tech platforms the right environment to excel.”
Looking forward to the second half of 2021, Doutté is optimistic about prospects for talabat UAE. “The recovery that we are seeing is showing minimal signs of slowing down. We are very excited to see how we can continue to grow our ecosystem, providing an unparalleled customer and vendor experience in the UAE. We are also looking forward to playing our part in promoting the UAE to the world at Expo 2020, as the official delivery platform of the ‘World’s Greatest Show’.”
Events to be staged at the DWTC, comprising diverse sectors including construction, energy, technology, beauty, food, healthcare, environment and automotive, will mark the emirate’s post-pandemic economic recovery