Cloud kitchens or Ghost kitchens might be something you have heard of constantly in recent months.
When we first heard of it, we were wondering why the term “Ghost” was used as it hardly gives us a hospitable feel. Well, Cloud or Ghost kitchens are basically non-visible kitchens that serve a F&B business that exclusively offers their food via delivery and takeaway only. In some documents, this is not confined to a building - a cloud kitchen could also be something on wheels, a moving container or mobile unit and more.
There are such kitchens already in existence in SEA though built and managed to serve specific F&B brands only. So, we ventured out, with masks and all to visit a cloud kitchen that would be able to cater to any F&B business and see what they have to offer.
One such kitchen is the newly completed COOKHOUSE right here in Petaling Jaya. Situated in one of the many supporting warehouses/industrial locations in the city, this cloud kitchen will be officially launched in July but has already been operational for the past month. “COOKHOUSE is built for people in the food business who believe that through a community and shared resources, an individual “me” could become part of the greater “we” in a supported ecosystem”, a sentiment shared strongly by COOKHOUSE founder Huen Su San when we visited the premise.
From the design and in-house facilities of COOKHOUSE, it is clear that much thought has been put into it.
For starters is the premise’s ease of access. All digitally monitored and controlled, you can access the premise anytime with the facility open 24 hours. Key cards and logins are in place to make it safe for access as we walk through the various areas.
Starting with the first floor, COOKHOUSE knows preparing food is not just about the knives and woks, but also getting the necessary leg work out of the way.
The first floor has been designed as a shared office with desks and chairs for you to get the necessary paperwork done for purchases, costs, meetings on menu design and more. Like a business centre, their “Residents” as how COOKHOUSE address their tenants can use these facilities.
As this works on a shared philosophy, the whole main area is divided into 5 sections. An Asian kitchen, a Western kitchen, a Baking section, a prep area and a washing station.
This main area is available for rent and charges are based on headcount rather than a forced monthly or weekly commitment. And the model makes sense - “As a small operator, you might actually only need to use the kitchen for 3 hours to prepare your food or maybe just 2 days in a week. Charging on a daily basis for these operators helps them to ramp up their production with the professional equipment at hand and helps them keep their operating costs low” explain Su San.
In the prep area, preparation equipment and workstations are available, and this also covers storage with a row of chillers and freezers in an adjacent room. And the other good thing is - you don’t have to wash up after. There is a team and machine for washing the items used and as how chefs are train, the clean as you go culture is encouraged. There is also a room that was labelled as a packing room to enable residents to prepare their food for deliveries and takeaways.
But if you have that secret ingredient that you would like to keep away from prying eyes, there are private studios available for rent for established brands as well. In your own space, the room is already equipped with the basic necessity of storage, sinks and workstations with the exception of the “cooking” equipment. And we can understand why. As different menu demands different skills and equipment, the space of these private spaces should be optimised to fit what the residents need most. By leaving the “cooking” element out and making it interchangeable, private studios residents can either bring their own or choose to rent equipment of choice from COOKHOUSE instead.
There are 2 special areas that COOKHOUSE has decided to implement as well within the grounds. Events Arena which doubles as a cooking classroom with a stage or a cooking event hall and Demo Kitchen, a pop up like designed kitchen with a counter and sitting area. These 2 areas are open to residents and companies or groups to rent for launches or events as well.
As a F&B business owner herself, Su San have designed and built this from an operator’s viewpoint, taking her experience into account on what a budding entrepreneur needs to have. So, at COOKHOUSE they are not just offering an easy entry with space and equipment but also the “extras” on standby to help you grow your business. One very important extra is to be compliant to the requirements of the law when operating a food business - your food handlers’ certification and obtaining (anti-) typhoid vaccination.
Other services available helps with marketing and logistics such as delivery services, POS systems, food order delivery systems, car rental and more. And to top it off, a room for photography with camera ready lighting is available for you to shoot your masterpieces as visual is as important as taste in today’s dining experience.
With this being the flagship facility for COOKHOUSE, this facility is for a strictly Halal only menu. In the plans for the company, other satellite cloud kitchen locations are in motion and will feature non-halal locations as well.
We are excited to see how high into the clouds (excuse the pun) these kitchens will take off with the expected changes in foodservice and we applaud ventures like COOKHOUSE on offering an alternate support the industry needs to stay afloat!
Our thanks to Su San and her team for the tour.
Designer Cook Sdn Bhd
3A Jalan PJS 3/1, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
+(60)12 521 8855 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Details of package :
• Shared Kitchen : RM200.00 per pax per day (weekly/monthly passes also available)
• Private Studio (equipped) : RM3,000.00 - RM4,000 per month
• Cooking EventsArena : RM3,000.00 (Full Day) / RM2,000.00 (Half Day)
• Demo Kitchen : RM1,000.00 (10 Hours) / RM800.00 (6 Hours)
All residents have to be dressed appropriately. Aprons, hairnets are available for sale on site.
Available service partners at COOKHOUSE:
• OURFOOD by Air Asia • Aliments • Unilever Food Solutions • Mr Speedy • Food Market Hub • SoCAR • Oddle