The global cloud kitchen market topped a whopping $56 billion in 2021, but that number could more than double in the next six years.

That’s among the findings of a new study from Dublin-based Research and Markets, “The Cloud Kitchen Market: Global Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2022-2027," which traces how these offsite central kitchens could make lives easier for grocery retailers and other channels throughout the food industry.  

Industry experts expect the cloud kitchen market to reach a value of $ 112.5 billion by 2027, with anticipated CAGR of 11.5% in the 2022-2027 period.

The report defines a cloud kitchen as a centralized virtual commercial space used to prepare delivery-optimized menu items or food consumed off the premises. Cloud kitchens allow food businesses to optimize and expand delivery or takeout services at a minimal cost compared to conventional brick-and-mortar locations.

“It also helps them focus on marketing, minimizing administrative hassle and logistics, and reaching a larger audience,” according to the report. “As a result, they are gaining traction as an ideal business solution across the globe to meet emerging demand.”

Increasingly, food businesses, including retail foodservice, delivery-optimized restaurants, meal prep companies, caterers, and packaged food producers, are shifting to cloud kitchens to maintain business continuity and deliver food without added overhead or hassle.

In addition, the growing popularity of online food delivery services on account of hectic working schedules and the escalating demand for convenient and quick meal options at affordable prices is stimulating the market growth. That can also be attributed to the increased utilization of smartphones, easy access to high-speed internet and a vast catalogue.

“In addition, high startup costs and burdensome regulations associated with conventional food business models are augmenting the adoption of cloud kitchens to reduce extensive resources and optimize the delivery experience. Furthermore, market players are providing a comprehensive platform with seamless integration of point of sale (POS), kitchen display (KDS), and inventory management technologies, which is anticipated to strengthen the market growth.”

Key players in the cloud kitchen industry, according to the report, include CloudKitchens, DoorDash Inc., Kitchen United, Kitopi, Lightspeed Commerce Inc., PAR Technology Corporation, POSist Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Rebel Foods, Starbucks Coffee Company, Swiggy and Toast Inc.

High-tech solution promises cloud kitchen up and running in 24 hours

Arlington Heights, Ill.-based Nala Robotics, an AI technology company specializing in the food industry, has launched Nala Marketplace, a network of fully customizable robotic chefs that allows anyone to easily open a proprietary cloud-based kitchen in less than 24 hours.

“Our multi-cuisine robotic chefs are now available to anyone with a culinary passion who aspires to launch their own virtual restaurant or food brand,” said Ajay Sunkara, cofounder and CEO of Nala. “Whether it’s an at-home chef who wants to start a food delivery business or a restaurant chain looking to enter a new market, our AI chefs can cook nearly any type of ethnic food, including Chinese, Thai, Italian, Indian, Mexican, Portuguese, as well as popular American food items such as burgers, salads, soups and more.”

Nala recently introduced the world’s first fully automated multi-cuisine chef, a customizable robot that uses machine learning to cook infinite recipes replicated with exact precision anytime, anywhere. Customers upload recipes and menu items to Nala’s highly secure database, while creating a virtual storefront. Orders are placed through a website or online food ordering and delivery platform and subsequently sent to the automated chef, where they’re fulfilled by sourcing ingredients from a high-tech pantry and picked up by or delivered to customers.

Nala’s team of engineers and culinary experts work directly with operators to replicate menus using the company’s automated chefs, where dishes are prepared, taste tested and refined before they’re uploaded to the Nala Marketplace platform. Customers pay a $250 enrollment fee per location, plus a monthly licensing fee based on order volume. A percentage of sales for each restaurant goes to Nala.