Hani al-Gamal – Cairo
The Coronavirus outbreak has helped the food delivery service in Egypt to thrive. Before the pandemic, only 25% of orders at the nation’s restaurants reached clients through the delivery service. However, the Coronavirus outbreak has ensured the service now makes up almost all the orders reaching the clients.
The pandemic is also opening the door for the presence of virtual kitchens or what are known as cloud kitchens.
These are kitchens that do not have actual space for dining, but ones that market their cuisine on social media and receive orders on cyberspace.
Surprisingly enough, the cloud kitchens now control almost 75% of the food business in Egypt and it is all thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. The emergence of the virtual kitchens is also giving rise to food delivery applications, such as –among others – Uber Eats and Otlob.
The new services are revolutionising the food business in Egypt. They are also changing the way restaurants are managed.
“People involved in the food business do not need to have dining space for the clients anymore,” chef Hassan Rayan, a pioneer of the virtual kitchens business, told MedyaNews.
The funny thing still is that the people ordering food via the new food delivery applications from people like chef Hassan do not know that he does not have an actual restaurant. Despite his fame, chef Hassan does not have a restaurant. He only markets the food he cooks on social media. To curb coronavirus infections, Egypt took a series of measures, including the restriction of the restaurant business to the delivery service. This has contributed to the success of the cloud kitchens.
Nevertheless, the growing fame of some of the nation’s cloud kitchens is causing harm to traditional restaurants that have rents and workers to pay. Civil servant Hossam al-Sayed said the coronavirus restrictions stimulated the growth of the virtual kitchens and made their success.
“The virtual kitchens are also able to have a competitive edge in terms of price, because they do not incur many of the costs of the traditional restaurants,” al-Sayed said.
Maria Jacoub agreed. She said the cloud kitchens make a lot of savings and sell the food for much lower prices than the traditional restaurants.
“This is why I order all my food from these kitchens, whether I am at work or at home,” Jacoub said.
Technology expert Safaa Sayed believes the virtual kitchens will help food business startups get deep knowledge of market trends.
“This will help these startups increase their profits in the future,” Sayed said.
She added that cloud kitchens will decide the world’s food in the coming decade, thanks to the expanding scope of online trade.