The Rise of Food Delivery in Southeast Asia

There's no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the way we function as a society. Nearly every business has had to shift the way it operates due to social distancing guidelines, and arguably no industry was hit as hard as the restaurant industry. With fewer in-person seats available and more people staying home, many restaurants have experienced an influx of delivery orders. This has transformed the way some food businesses operate, particularly takeout and street food booths in ASEAN.

Why Are More People Ordering Delivery?

Before we examine how the food delivery scene has changed in Southeast Asia, it's helpful to review why this trend grew in the first place. The main reasons behind more people ordering delivery include:

  • Safety
  • Variety
  • Convenience

Of course, the food delivery trend first became popular due to the restrictions of COVID-19. With major lockdowns in place and work-from-home guidelines being implemented across Southeast Asia, more and more people turned to delivery services to receive meals.

Although COVID-19 may have inspired higher delivery rates, it's not the only reason this trend took off. The internet offers easy access to a wide range of menus and cuisines, which translates to more diversity in terms of meals. Furthermore, food delivery offers a level of convenience that cannot be matched. Considering many people are still working at home, delivery tends to be more convenient than physically going to a restaurant.

The Role of Food Delivery in Southeast Asia

The ability to safely and easily enjoy an array of different foods in the comfort of your own home has resulted in huge increases in food delivery across Southeast Asia. During the height of the pandemic in 2020, the gross merchandise volume (GMV) of food delivery reached nearly $12 billion USD, which was a 183% increase from 2019.

As we emerge from the pandemic and plan to reopen the world through mass vaccinations, more people are hopeful that restaurants will be able to open at full capacity. However, statistics show that food delivery isn't going anywhere. It's projected that the ASEAN food delivery market will rise from $2 billion in 2018 to $8 billion by 2025. Moreover, with a food delivery market value of $53 billion, Asia is expected to be the leader in the delivery business. Thus, it's clear that the delivery trend is here to stay.

Ghost Kitchens: Capitalizing on the Delivery Craze

It's clear that the increase in delivery demands has led to more business for restaurants. However, many traditional, brick-and-mortar restaurants are suffering due to the lack of foot traffic. Not only do restaurant owners have to fund an entire team of workers — including cooks, servers and hosts — but they also have to pay rent for their dine-in areas. Ultimately, the lack of in-person diners has resulted in wasted space, unused supplies and a decreased need for several restaurant jobs.

Considering the popularity of food delivery and the high costs associated with running a restaurant, more and more restaurant owners are turning toward the ghost kitchen format to capitalize on this trend at a lower cost. Ghost kitchens, also known as ghost kitchens, are restaurants that operate digitally as opposed to in-person. They consist of a kitchen area and only offer delivery and take out food. This helps conserve costs on a number of things, including:

  • Restaurant furniture (such as decorations, tables and chairs)
  • Supplies (such as dishware and silverware)
  • Employees (such as servers, hosts and busboys)

Moreover, because less space is required to run a ghost kitchen, many owners wind up saving money on rent. While some purchase their own spaces, others choose to rent a kitchen that comes equipped with appliances. Some ghost kitchen owners may even elect to share space with other businesses.

While ghost kitchens have tons of advantages —especially in a world dominated by food delivery — they're not without their own challenges. Because they depend on online ordering to stay in business, owners must be able to work with different delivery services and manage incoming orders from various platforms. While this is no easy feat, having the right restaurant tech can greatly facilitate the process.

Streamline Your Orders With High-Quality Food Tech

A common misconception about ghost kitchens is that they are less efficient than regular kitchens. While traditional restaurants do have more staff to help manage orders, ghost kitchens can be just as productive — provided that they use the right order management system.

Cuboh is a platform that helps you manage multiple online orders with a single, easy-to-use device. Not only does it let you streamline your orders to one tablet, but it can also send orders to your POS system in real time. By promoting efficiency while reducing the potential for mistakes, Cuboh can revolutionize how the restaurant industry operates. Make sure you're not left behind!


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