Welcome back to an-all new Head’s Up. This week, we bring you an interview home-cooked food platform, Aston Chua who is now looking to venture into the cloud kitchen business. His announcement and aspiration marks an all-new entry as a player into the ecosystem that is seeing increasing interest from other players in the last couple of years.
What are your thoughts on cloud-kitchen and what has your experience been like? Let us know in the comments section below!
But just before that, we have got an announcement for you.
News & Announcements
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Interview with Hometaste Founder, Aston Chua
In early October, home-cooked meals delivery platform, Hometaste successfully raised RM2,410,317, attracting the confidence of 89 investors via Malaysia’s leading equity crowdfunding (ECF) platform with the highest individual investment value at RM802,386.
The platform was founded four years ago by Aston Chua, who at the time came to Kuala Lumpur alone and missed his mother’s home cooked food. After a visit to a friend’s place and had his cravings satisfied over a night of perfect Nyonya dishes, he was inspired.
“I remember back in 2017, the sharing economy concept was a popular business model, just like Uber and Airbnb. We were inspired to start our journey with a simple mission,” says Aston Chua Yee Shen, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Hometaste.
Due to the high starting cost of a restaurant, Aston and his team believed that a platform that provides a chance to those who cook and place for those who love home-cooked food was the best choice. This marked the beginning of Hometaste.
Since its establishment, Hometaste has grown to a 15,000-customer base, delivering over 18,000 home recipe orders on a monthly basis. Having served over 500,000 pax of food, the platform has proven the legitimacy of their business model with a growth of 15x on a yearly increment in revenue since it was founded.
Hometaste has also since expanded its services, unlocking the full potential of home recipes produced by homepreneurs by incubating them into brands.
The Next Step
“Digital disruption and technological innovations have popularised the trend of ordering food online and doorstep delivery. The funds raised will be used to scale Hometaste as a data-driven multi-brand cloud kitchen operated via tech-enabled channels with a target to open 70 cloud kitchens by 2023 in Malaysia and eventually expanding beyond the Malaysian shores to other Southeast Asia countries,” he says.
Hometaste aims to combine underutilised real estate, algorithm-driven supply chain optimisation and last-mile food delivery apps to reach underserved markets. Aston and his team aim to offer a variety of branded menu items exclusively to our customers and more flexible delivery hours than traditional restaurants.
With more in-house brands and partner restaurants, this will also create multiple revenue streams for the platform.
For Hometaste, Aston further believes that with diverse cuisine options will help in maximising customer retention and the platform wants to also provide customers quick access to the freshest delivery foods.
“Smart kitchens can minimise cost and increase productivity of kitchen operation. With technology solutions, products can be produced with higher qualities
“We have a full stack team who have been involved in all aspects of the food delivery industry over the past 5 years, building Hometaste from zero to where it is today. We also have our own rider team, we provide marketing plans, quality control measures, packaging management, ordering system and at the same time, allowing chefs to focus on what they are best at, cooking,” Aston says.
To also ensure Hometaste’s customers have better food quality and experiences, data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence will be utilised to optimise brands, cuisines, and menus for each target market.
With over 70% of programmes being automated currently, Hometaste plans to utilise big data analysis to improve other aspects such as the estimation of ingredients to reduce food waste and increase revenue.
Rise of Cloud Kitchens
The rise of cloud kitchens in the Klang Valley is nothing short of novel and evidently has been catching the attention of big players from other sectors as well. Mid-September saw Maybank Islamic Bhd today enter into a collaboration with COOKHOUSE Malaysia to offer Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the food and beverage business an opportunity to access the cloud kitchen.
This first-of-its-kind collaboration between an Islamic bank and Malaysia’s premier shared kitchen provider enables SMEs to rent dedicated commercial-grade kitchen space with state-of-the-art facilities at a cost-effective price.
Newcomers, Coox and Sunway-based Spargo Eats aspire to disrupt the cloud kitchen scene in Klang Valley.
Coox, founded by former youth and sports minister, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman along with entrepreneurs, culinary and technology experts, Ken Lee, Stewart Leong, Siong Ong and Vinesh Sinha, aim to help F&B players tap into the on-demand delivery model and make the right operation pivot.
“We are looking to become an ecosystem that will offer an all-in-one platform for interested players who can enjoy similar benefits a franchise might enjoy,” co-founder Vinesh Sinha told Business Today in April this year.
Sinha highlights brands on the site will be able to pool orders of ingredients and consumable on the COOX platform together, sourcing from suppliers with critical mass at the best possible prices. This in return will reduce the cost of goods and at the same time enhance profitability.
COOX also offers to be a central place for orders from all partnered delivery apps and tenants will be able to track their financial performance in real time as well.
Spargo Eats on the other hand is looking to address multiple food missions through delivery-only food brands from the same kitchen.
We believe that there are two models of cloud kitchens, cloud kitchen 1.0 is when you take a big real estate and divide it into smaller kitchens and then rent them out to different merchants.
“That we believe is the kitchen version of wework, so we call it ‘wecook’. Fundamentally beyond the real estate there is not much synergy here. We see that as a hot trend now in Malaysia,” Spargo Eats Founder, Nicholas Ou highlights.
Hometaste was part of MaGIC’s Global Accelerator Program (GAP) Cohort 5, which connected them with mentors that have helped them build networks during the 3-months program and in ensuring that Hometaste is investment-ready.
Anyone keen to join Hometaste’s empowering home recipe mission, may checkout for further details here: https://hometaste.my/submit-a-recipe/
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