Food On Demand – JustKitchen Adds to Exec Team, Ghost Kitchen Lineup

Article by: Tom Kaiser, August 19, 2021

JustKitchen, the Asian ghost kitchen provider moving into the U.S. market, added three new restaurants to its lineup of “app-to-door” brands and appointed a former Deliveroo executive as its new executive vice president of operations.

The company’s newest delivery-only brands are global bakery chain Boulangeries Paul, a Japanese barbecue chain called Hutong Yakiniku and a shaved ice dessert brand called Ice Monster. With these three newest brands, JustKitchen’s brand portfolio is now at “nearly 30 brands” in total.

Its new executive vice president of operations is Michael Liu, who recently served as the head of commercial for Deliveroo Taiwan. During his previous job, he managed a team of more than 40 professionals across 5,000 restaurant partners, according to JustKitchen.

Boulangeries Paul is a global chain of bakeries and cafés with operations in 47 countries that was founded in France in 1889. Established in 2005, Hutong is a Japanese barbecue brand that has 11 restaurants in Taiwan, 11 in China and one in Hong Kong. Operating since 1997, Ice Monster is a popular shaved ice dessert shop that successfully expanded to Japan and China in 2015 and Hawaii in 2017.

Ice Monster is well known for its mango-flavored shaved ice dessert, which features three different varieties of mangoes.

  1. Leveraging data and AI to inform menu and product development

Data can provide invaluable insight to any customer-facing industry, and ghost kitchens are no exception. Ultimately, data regarding brand preferences, pricing strategy, ingredients, and the popularity of cuisine types in certain regions can inform everything from menu design to marketing strategy for delivery-only food brands. Examining customer ordering data can also inform restaurants where their particular cuisines may fill a gap on a hyper-local basis, and where they might want to offer their products via a ghost kitchen versus a bricks and mortar location.

For example, JustKitchen has partnered with two Michelin-rated restaurants, Orchid by Peng and 3 Coins, to create delivery-only menus. Their brick and mortar locations previously were situated in very high-density areas of Taipei. By partnering with us, they were able to test the demand for their food in other parts of Taiwan without having to invest in real estate first. By examining the customer ordering data on a trial basis, we were able to see that the demand for this fine-dining style of food was very strong throughout areas of Taiwan they previously weren’t serving.

Additionally, brands that are interested in expanding into new countries can use a ghost kitchen to test out the popularity of the food on a trial basis before taking the leap and investing in the additional real estate and marketing that a global expansion normally requires. They can also test menu items on a trial basis and use ordering data to determine whether certain menu items are a fit for a new market — for example, a North American market versus an Asian market — before developing and rolling out a final concept and menu…