To begin with, the SoftBank-backed company has launched its flagship brand ‘Khichdi Experiment’ which has gone live in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and Chennai. It is offering more than 16 varieties of ‘khichdi’ and the flavours will keep expanding depending upon the feedback from the customers. ‘Khichdi’ is a comfort food which is liked by people across ages and demographics. Ola
said the idea was to answer to the hunger pangs, reconnect with the nostalgia and comfort that one attaches with an item like ‘khichdi’ and at the same time surprise customers with different flavours of the dish.
According to sources, Ola was facing challenges for its food delivery
and is pivoting towards focussing on its own in-house food brands through its cloud kitchens. It has a network of 50 kitchens in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi NCR and Chennai. The firm is looking to expand this network in more than 80 cities over the next year. Ola had acquired Foodpanda’s India business from Germany-based Delivery Hero Group in December 2017 and had committed an investment of $200 million into Foodpanda
India. It was competing with large food delivery
players in this space, while burning a lot of cash in the process, with rising competition, according to sources.
However, Ola said that through Foodpanda, it realised that there is a need to solve for the overall food experience rather than just focussing on the logistics part of the business. Foodpanda
would be a distribution channel for Ola’s own food brands as well as some other partner brands.
The concept of cloud kitchen has recently caught the attention of food tech companies
and investors who are pouring millions of dollars into such facilities.
Mumbai-based food-tech firm Rebel Foods, known for brands like Faasos and Behrouz Biryani, operates more than 205 delivery cloud kitchens and 1,600 online restaurants across 18 Indian cities. In the next two years, the company aims to have around 500 cloud kitchens. Rebel also runs brands such as Mandarin Oak that provides Chinese cuisine; Oven Story that is known for pizzas, and Sweet Truth that offers desserts.
Bengaluru-based Swiggy, a Naspers and Tencent Holdings backed food delivery firm, is expanding its cloud kitchen platform Swiggy
Access to metros, including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad. The platform enables its restaurant partners to set up kitchen spaces in locations where they don’t operate but have a high demand for their product. Swiggy
Access houses brands such as Truffles, Vasudev Adigas, and Leon Grill as well as the company’s private-label brands like The Bowl Company and Homely.