February 11, 2022

How has COVID driven innovation in the F&B industry?

covid innovation F&B

Covid-19 hit the Food & Beverage (F&B) industry in Hong Kong hard. While people still eat out in restaurants from time to time, seating restrictions and fears of Covid-19 have meant that more and more people are ordering food for takeout or from online food delivery platforms. But by far the biggest change has been how diners think about takeaway and delivery foods. Put simply, home diners weren’t satisfied with the cheap and cheerful takeaway meals of the past. This has forced change and innovation in the F&B industry at every level.

With more restaurants attempting to cater to this growing delivery market, the past couple of years has further perpetuated the massive growth of food delivery companies like Deliveroo and FoodPanda. The only issue is when restaurants are designed to cater to dine-in customers, but instead, start using these platforms for the majority of their orders while their seats are empty. Sounds inefficient, right?

A key biggest innovation in the F&B industry of late are delivery kitchens. The concept itself has been around for years, but with new food technology and use cases, they are now truly taking off.

What are delivery kitchens?

At Freshlane, our CloudKitchensTM delivery kitchens are cooking spaces with no front or seating area. The idea behind these kitchens is that they’re food production powerhouses, with the spaces, technologies, and practices optimised to turn out lots of high-quality food in a short time.

Customers order the food online through a digital menu ordering system, and the food is then delivered by one of the many third-party food delivery companies that exist in Hong Kong. Delivery-only kitchens are known by several different names including:

  • Dark kitchens
  • Virtual kitchens
  • Ghost kitchens
  • Central kitchens
  • CloudKitchensTM delivery kitchens

These kitchens are the most efficient way to produce good delivery food at a low price because the restaurant doesn’t have to pay for waitstaff or space.

Why are CloudKitchensTM delivery kitchens so popular with restaurants?

When Covid-19 hit, restaurants all over Hong Kong had to adapt quickly, many losing a significant amount of business. This was a huge hit for the restaurant industry, and everyone involved in it, from waitstaff to chefs. Even once things opened up a bit, fear drove diners to eat at home more often, leaving newly reopened restaurants empty.

The restaurants that wanted to stay in business had to make a change. Those that already delivered were in a better position to adapt to these changes as they just had to increase their delivery and takeaway efforts. Fine dining restaurants had the hardest task as they had to adapt their services and offerings to allow for delivery and takeaway meals.

However, there was a massive problem with this solution. Restaurants all over Hong Kong needed fast ways to deliver food to their customers. But the food technology and efficiency just weren’t there.

This is where delivery kitchens came in. Most of the time, they weren’t a replacement for the original restaurant, but a way to complement it and meet the influx of delivery orders. In fact, many restaurants found that they continued to be a logical way to supplement their brick-and-mortar premises as time went on.

The benefits of CloudKitchensTM delivery kitchens

Delivery kitchens can be a good option for any F&B business. They’re:


The upfront costs for a delivery kitchen are much lower than those for a restaurant. You also don’t need such a big team to run the delivery kitchen and will pay less rent for a kitchen compared to a full restaurant.

This can represent a significant amount of savings for new and existing business owners, both upfront and in the long term.

Fast returns

Setting up a restaurant – let alone seeing profits – can take a significant amount of time. But with a CloudKitchensTM delivery kitchen, there’s much less to set up, so you can get started in a few weeks and start delivering and earning money.

Fast turnover

The spaces and food technology in delivery kitchens are set up to allow for efficient food production. This means you will be able to complete more orders than in a traditional kitchen.

Simpler logistics

The logistics of running a food delivery kitchen are also much simpler than with a traditional restaurant. For example, you won’t have to worry about getting rid of your waste food.

Experienced help

The F&B industry has changed a lot, but you can get help with every aspect of running a food delivery kitchen such as building your virtual brand with Freshlane.

Final thoughts

The F&B industry has been fundamentally changed by Covid-19, and these changes seem to be here to stay. The ways that customers interact with restaurants and food brands in particular has driven innovation in the F&B industry that culminated in the advent of delivery kitchens.

CloudKitchensTM delivery kitchens allow restaurants and food providers to produce food quickly, in greater quantities and cost-effectively – especially when compared to dine-in restaurants. 

But because delivery kitchens aren’t designed to bring customers into a brick-and-mortar location, they require a different marketing approach. Digital marketing works best for these kitchens, which typically involves a new website, professional food photography, digital marketing campaigns, and more. This is even more important if your restaurant wasn’t already well known before Covid because you will need to do a lot of marketing to attract customers and attention.

At Freshlane, we have experience with all aspects of setting up your new food & beverage business through a delivery kitchen. Fill out the form below to get expert help building your F&B business from the ground up!

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