Nikkei Asia – Asia’s cloud kitchens expect delivery boom to outlast COVID

Uber and Grab drastically alter an industry that used to rely on prime locations

Original article by RURIKA IMAHASHI, GRACE LI and DYLAN LOH, Nikkei staff writers, Nikkei Asia, February, 20, 2021

TOKYO/HONG KONG/SINGAPORE — For Taiwan-based cloud kitchen operator JustKitchen, the yearlong pandemic has opened a doorway into Asia’s modern restaurant industry.

Established last March, the startup’s business has grown rapidly. To date, it has opened 14 kitchens in Taiwan, with two more under construction. It is aiming to raise $8.6 million from its initial public offering, in Canada, which is scheduled for early March.

“Some people are predicting that everything will return to normal and the fruits [from during the pandemic] will go away,” said Kent Wu, the chief operating officer of JustKitchen. He maintains a bullish outlook. “In the post-pandemic’s new normal, food delivery will become one option people will utilize when they’re looking for food and beverage.”

Wu said he and other Taiwanese experienced “post-pandemic” situations earlier than almost anybody else as the island quickly contained the virus’s spread. When Taiwanese were allowed to give in to their previous lifestyles, he said, many continued to use food delivery services much more frequently than previously.

This experience has convinced Wu that the industry remains on a high growth trajectory, which explains why JustKitchen will use some of its IPO funds to enter Hong Kong, the Philippines and Singapore this year. In addition, it intends to enter the U.S. in 2022…