GrabKitchen Singapore. Photo credit: Grab

GrabFood, a food delivery service operated by Grab, launched its first cloud kitchen here on Wednesday (8 Jan), joining rivals Deliveroo, Foodpanda, and independent cloud kitchen operator Smart City Kitchens.

The cloud kitchen named GrabKitchen is located at Lam Soon Industrial Building in Hillview. It is a 6,000-square-feet kitchen and has over 10 merchants including Wolf Burgers, Thai Dynasty, and PlayMade.

Residents in the Upper Bukit Timah, Bukit Gombak, and Bukit Batok can now enjoy this extension in a single order through the app. Orders can also be made for consumption or pick-up in the kitchen’s dine-in area in Hillview.

The idea of GrabKitchen was said to be introduced last year April by former Grab Singapore head Lim Kell Jay, who now heads GrabFood’s regional operations.

At a media briefing on Wednesday (8 Jan), Mr Lim said that the GrabKitchen launch in Singapore brings its network of cloud kitchen to 50 across five countries in the South-east Asian region.

Cloud kitchens are centralized food production facilities where merchants can rent cooking space and equipment. This allows them to serve consumers without having to set up a dine-in area restaurant.

Mr Lim further added there are plans to open more kitchens in the coming year, but did not disclose the quantity in the pipeline. Services such as bulk procurement for kitchen supplies and ingredients will be rolled out more this year as well.

“In 2020, we’ll combine our capabilities across food delivery, financial and advertising services, and provide merchants with the tools of the trade that will take their businesses to new heights,” he noted.

The cost of the 6,000 square feet kitchen space was not revealed by GrabFood, same goes to the commercial arrangements with businesses renting the space. However, GrabFood did mention that the tenants are free to work with competitors and does not enforce exclusivity agreements.

“Signage in a foodcourt alone can cost $3,000, and manpower is another big point of savings,” said Mr Ian Lin who operates three restaurant brands in the industrial building. This was one of the reasons why Mr Lin decided to join GrabKitchen.

“The bulk procurement platform would be a useful option too because it’s no secret that in food and beverage, the margins are thin, so anything that can help to reduce operational costs is good,” he added.

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