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File Photo of cloud kitchen. (Photo: Bloomberg)
File Photo of cloud kitchen. (Photo: Bloomberg)

Carnival Group forays into cloud kitchen business

  • Cloud kitchens have been gaining popularity in India as the future of restaurants remains uncertain amid the covid-19 pandemic

NEW DELHI: Carnival Group, the operator of multiplex chain Carnival Cinemas has forayed into cloud kitchen business by launching a wholly-owned subsidiary - Purple Foods & Beverages Pvt. Ltd. It has also set up 100 cloud units offering five brands - Purple Canteen (for non-vegetarian food), Green Canteen (vegetarian food), Red Bubble Cafe, Movie Munchies, and Fresh Counter.

The last two will offer Carnival’s in-cinema menus, in a move that industry experts say is a good pivot as the reopening of cinemas remains uncertain and exhibitors incur huge losses.

Partnering with leading food aggregators Swiggy and Zomato, the aim is to serve hygienically prepared and safely delivered food and beverages to customers, the company said in a statement.

This is the first of a four-phase expansion plan over the next two years, as part of which operations at nine locations in five states have started including Huma Kanjur Marg in Mumbai, Green Field and Kariyad in Kerala, Bengaluru and Belgaum in Karnataka, Nasrani Jodhpur, Galaxy Jaipur in Rajasthan, Allahabad and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh with eight more outlets slated to open in Mumbai and Pune over the next three months. The company will also use a tech-enabled platform to manage the operations of its cloud kitchens.

The food options offered by Purple will be up to 20% cheaper than those not made available through a cloud kitchen.

“We understand the current scenario of the covid-19 pandemic is not very favourable for many restaurants and hotels. The idea is to think beyond it. There is a huge potential in the cloud kitchen segment and we have a strong network of around 150 plus theatres in over 120 cities across India so we don’t need to invest in the biggest expense traditional restaurants deal with, real estate," said Shrikant Bhasi, founder and chairman, Carnival Group.

In sync with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a self-reliant India, the Carnival programme will generate employment for over 500 skilled workers and be one step closer to the Digital India Mission of a cashless economy made possible by digital payments.

“Over the next two years we aim to invest around 15 crore for setting up 100 cloud units in our cinemas and two more Central Commissaries," Bhasi said in a statement.

To be sure, dealing with zero revenues and fixed staff salaries and maintenance charges is a challenge for players in the film exhibition business.

“It’s a good way to utilise your manpower and resources when you have costs to bear and no clarity on when theatres will reopen but see that food delivery is permitted across," film trade and exhibition expert Girish Johar pointed out.

Cloud kitchens are gaining popularity in India as the future of restaurants remains uncertain amid the covid-19 pandemic.

More restaurant brands are venturing into cloud kitchens as they seek to diversify revenue streams at a time when footfalls in restaurants are down due to strict social distancing norms. Moreover, consumers remain averse to stepping out and going to crowded places fearing the risk of infections.

Restaurants that opened up earlier this month, are currently running restricted operations as the number of diners is capped.

As a result, more and more restaurants are launching delivery-only brands and looking to open cloud kitchens or use their existing kitchens as cloud kitchens to fulfill a surge in online orders.

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