How to start a Cloud Kitchen Business in UK USA (Business Plan)

Cloud Kitchen Business

Do you have these questions in your mind?

  • How to start a Cloud Kitchen Business?
  • How much does it cost to start a Cloud Kitchen  business?
  • How can you make from a Cloud Kitchen Business? 
  • How to find the best location to open your Cloud Kitchen Business?

In this article, you will find answers to all your questions. So please grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get started.

Table of Contents

What is the Cloud Kitchen Business?

With a global market value of around $71.4 billion and an annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.7%, the cloud kitchen industry is one of the biggest industries in the world right now.


A Cloud Kitchen Business, a ghost kitchen, or a virtual kitchen is a type of food business that operates without a physical storefront. Instead, it prepares and delivers food to customers through online ordering platforms, such as food delivery apps, websites, or phone calls. 


The emphasis of a Cloud Kitchen is on the quality of the food, delivery speed, and customer convenience. 


This approach eliminates the high costs of running a traditional restaurant, such as rent, utilities, and labor costs. Cloud Kitchens offer a flexible, innovative, and cost-effective approach to food delivery that is gaining popularity in the restaurant industry.


By the end of this article, we will teach you everything you need to know when starting your Cloud Kitchen business. 

Market Insight: The UK cloud kitchen market size is around £7.1 billion and is expected to grow more over the years, while in the US, they have the biggest market size in the world with $39.4 Billion.

Cloud Kitchen Business

Types of Cloud Kitchen Business Models

You can choose from several types of cloud kitchen business models when starting your business. These include:


1. Single Brand Cloud Kitchen:

This type of cloud kitchen business specialize in one type of cuisine, such as pizza, sushi, or burgers, allowing the business to focus on a specific market niche and maintain consistency in food quality.


2. Multi-Brand Cloud Kitchen
This business model has its own menu and marketing strategy, allowing the business to cater to a diverse customer base. This is beneficial for businesses that want to expand their offerings without incurring additional overhead costs.


3. Franchise Cloud Kitchen:
This type of cloud kitchen business allows provides the kitchen layout, menu, and support to ensure consistency in the food quality and brand identity. The franchisee pays a fee for the right to use the brand’s name and operating procedures.


4. Aggregator Cloud Kitchen:
An aggregator cloud kitchen partners with multiple restaurant brands and manages their operations to fulfill orders through a central kitchen. The aggregator handles the logistics, including food preparation, order fulfillment, and delivery. This model allows restaurants to expand their reach without incurring the additional costs associated with opening new locations.


5. Commissary Kitchen:
A commissary kitchen is ideal for food trucks, caterers, and small-scale food businesses that need a licensed commercial kitchen to operate legally. This kitchen provides the equipment and storage space to prepare food and meet the health and safety standards set by the regulatory authority.


6. Hybrid Cloud Kitchen:
A hybrid cloud kitchen prepares food for both delivery and dine-in customers, and the restaurant may or may not have a physical storefront. Businesses can serve customers who prefer to dine-in while also catering to the growing demand for online food delivery services.

Cloud Kitchen Business

Pros and Cons of a Cloud Kitchen Business 

Pros of a Cloud Kitchen Business include:

  • Lower overhead costs
  • Ability to operate multiple brands or concepts out of a single kitchen
  • Flexibility to change menu items quickly
  • Optimized operations through technology and data
Cons of a Cloud Kitchen Business include:
  • Limited face-to-face customer interaction
  • Dependence on third-party delivery platforms
  • Difficult to establish a brand identity without a physical storefront
  • Lack of impulse purchases from walk-in customers

Remember, as a startup, your goal should be to keep your costs low and depend on your skills. If you push the process and try to go full-service from the very beginning, there is a good possibility that you’ll be overburdened and may get lost in the process.

Investment required for a Cloud Kitchen Business

Starting your Cloud Kitchen Business is an excellent idea.


In the US, you can start this business from $15K -$80K, while in the UK, the figure may vary, and you can start this business with an investment between £5K – £50K, depending on the quality of materials you take.


In the beginning, you can manage to do with less staff. It will save the cost of wages. Gradually, once your business grows, you can hire staff accordingly.


List of some of the common operating expenses:


  • Raw materials
  • Gas
  • Salaries
  • Vehicle
  • Rent
  • Internet
  • Insurance (if any)
  • Electricity
  • Telephone
  • Office Supplies
  • Repairs
  • Licenses (if any)
  • Property taxes
  • Loans if any
  • Advertisement costs
  • Office & Administration
  • Miscellaneous expenses
Cloud Kitchen Business

How much will you earn as a Cloud Kitchen business?

It is easier to estimate the earnings of a Cloud Kitchen business with more information about the specific company, such as location, target market, and competition. 

In addition, factors such as overhead costs, sales volume, and pricing will all play a role in determining your earnings.

The average US Cloud Kitchen business revenue is around $50K – $200K annually, while in the UK, it’s about £25K – £75K per year, with a profit margin of about 5% – 25%. 

Busiest time for your business:

The business cycle of a Cloud Kitchen Business is always active. There is a high demand for cloud kitchen services during festivals, weddings, and birthdays. We can say that the cloud kitchen business is not seasonal, however, it might sometimes vary due to a few factors.

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Cloud Kitchen Business

Types of Staff needed for your Cloud Kitchen Business

Here are some types of staff needed for a Cloud Kitchen business:

  • Head Chef
  • Sous Chef
  • Line Cooks
  • Prep Cooks
  • Dishwashers
  • Delivery Drivers
  • Customer Service Representatives
  • Operations Manager
  • Inventory Manager
  • Sales Manager
  • Marketing Manager
  • IT Manager
  • Technical Support Staff
  • Graphic Designer
  • Social Media Manager
  • HR Manager
  • Financial Manager
  • Purchasing Manager
  • Cleaning Staff
  • Maintenance Staff
Note: Many-a-times, the founder of a startup, because of his/her lack of funds tend to not hire any staff in the beginning, while this may be a cost-effective method at first, eventually we advice you to hire staff that will help you in the fast and smooth working of the company. 


Cloud Kitchen Business

Cloud Kitchen Business Menu

The list of dishes you can put on your cloud kitchen menu depends on various factors, including your target audience, location, cuisine preference, and available resources. 


Here are some types of cuisines and sample menu items for each:


1. Italian Cuisine:


  • Appetizers: Bruschetta, Caprese Salad, Arancini
  • Pizza: Margherita, Pepperoni, Vegetarian
  • Pasta: Spaghetti Carbonara, Fettuccine Alfredo, Lasagna
  • Entrees: Chicken Parmesan, Osso Bucco, Veal Marsala
  • Desserts: Tiramisu, Cannoli, Gelato


2. Chinese Cuisine:


  • Appetizers: Spring Rolls, Potstickers, Wontons
  • Soup: Hot and Sour Soup, Egg Drop Soup, Wonton Soup
  • Entrees: Kung Pao Chicken, General Tso’s Chicken, Mongolian Beef
  • Noodles: Lo Mein, Chow Mein, Dan Dan Noodles
  • Rice: Fried Rice, Yangzhou Fried Rice, Pineapple Fried Rice
  • Desserts: Mango Pudding, Egg Tarts, Fried Sesame Balls


3. Mexican Cuisine:


  • Appetizers: Chips and Salsa, Queso Fundido, Guacamole
  • Tacos: Carne Asada, Al Pastor, Fish Tacos
  • Burritos: Bean and Cheese, Chicken Tinga, Barbacoa
  • Enchiladas: Chicken, Cheese, Beef
  • Sides: Rice and Beans, Elote, Chips and Queso
  • Desserts: Churros, Flan, Tres Leches Cake


4. Indian Cuisine:


  • Appetizers: Samosas, Papadum, Chicken Tikka
  • Curries: Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Vindaloo, Saag Paneer
  • Rice: Basmati Rice, Biryani, Pulao
  • Naan: Garlic Naan, Butter Naan, Cheese Naan
  • Desserts: Gulab Jamun, Ras Malai, Kheer


5. American Cuisine:


  • Appetizers: Buffalo Wings, Mozzarella Sticks, Onion Rings
  • Burgers: Classic Cheeseburger, Bacon Cheeseburger, Veggie Burger
  • Sandwiches: Club Sandwich, BLT, Grilled Cheese
  • Entrees: Fried Chicken, BBQ Ribs, Steak and Fries
  • Sides: French Fries, Mac and Cheese, Coleslaw
  • Desserts: Apple Pie, Chocolate Cake, Cheesecake
Cloud Kitchen Business

List of Basic Items needed for your Cloud Kitchen Business

Below is the list of the basic items required for the cloud kitchen business, few could be optional for you:


  • Cooking equipment (ovens, stovetops, grills, fryers, etc.)
  • Refrigeration equipment (refrigerators, freezers, walk-in coolers, etc.)
  • Food preparation equipment (mixers, slicers, blenders, etc.)
  • Cookware (pots, pans, baking sheets, etc.)
  • Utensils (knives, spatulas, ladles, tongs, etc.)
  • Cutting boards
  • Kitchen scales
  • Food storage containers
  • Shelving and storage racks
  • Trash cans and recycling bins
  • Cleaning supplies (sanitizers, detergents, sponges, etc.)
  • Mops, brooms, and dustpans
  • Hand soap and paper towels
  • Disposable gloves and hairnets
  • Packaging materials (containers, bags, labels, etc.)
  • Point of sale system (for order management and payment processing)
  • Telephone or computer for taking orders
  • Internet and Wi-Fi access
  • POS printer for order tickets
  • Inventory management software
  • Menu display board or menu cards
  • Seating and tables (if offering dine-in options)
  • Cash register or cash drawer
  • Credit card processing equipment
  • Fire suppression system
  • Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Air conditioning and heating systems
  • Lighting fixtures and bulbs.
Note: As a startup, if you don’t have required funds to acquire all the above mentioned items, THAT’S OKAY! Start with the items you can afford at that moment and just go with it!

A typical day in a Cloud Kitchen business includes:

1. Starting early in the morning
2. Preparing the orders for the day
3. Ordering and storing the ingredients
4. Check supplies
5. Taking orders
6. Sending the orders
7. Cleaning
8. Refrigerating/freezing necessary items for the next day
9. Handling customers’ complaints and feedback
10. Close

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Cloud Kitchen Business

Licence and Regulations needed for a Cloud Kitchen Business 

There are different regulatory bodies for the country you want to register in. Always check local laws & permissions related to the licenses and acquire permits & support, or else you may have to pay hefty fines.


In the US, check the rules & regulations of the SBA (Small business administration). Below is the list of commonly required licenses & permits for catering businesses in the USA:


  • Business license/seller’s permit
  • Employer Identification Number
  • Food handler permit
  • Fire certificates
  • Health department permit
  • Zoning permit


In the UK, information through the FSB (Federation of small business) & government’s official website,, will help you. Below is a quick overview of registering your business in the UK: 


  • Register with your local authority
  • An HSE (health & safety executive) will visit you within six months of registration
  • Register with HRMC (HM Revenue and Customs)
  • Get a trading license
  • Take employers liability license
  • Gas/electrical safety certificates
  • Food hygiene certificate
  • HACCP approval (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point)
  • Public liability insurance
Cloud Kitchen Business

Useful tips for growing your Cloud Kitchen business

There are several strategies that you can use to grow your cloud kitchen business. Here are some suggestions:


1. Expand your menu:
Offer a diverse and innovative menu to attract more customers and increase sales.


2. Optimize your online presence:
Make sure your website, social media profiles, and online platforms are up-to-date and user-friendly.


3. Leverage data and analytics:
Analyze customer behaviour, and adjust your menu, pricing, and marketing strategies accordingly.


4. Partner with delivery platforms:
Partner with third-party delivery platforms such as UberEats, GrubHub, and DoorDash to increase your reach and customer base.


5. Offer promotions and discounts:
Run special offers and promotions to attract new customers and retain existing ones.


6. Build a loyal customer base:
Build a loyal customer base by providing excellent customer service, personalized offers, and loyalty programs.


7. Expand to new locations:
Consider expanding your cloud kitchen to new locations to reach new markets and increase revenue.


8. Collaborate with other businesses:
Partner with other local businesses to offer joint promotions and increase your reach and exposure.


9. Invest in marketing:
Use social media, email marketing, and other advertising channels to promote your cloud kitchen and attract new customers.


10. Focus on quality and consistency:
Ensure that your food quality and delivery services are consistent and of high quality to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Trends & Challenges in the Cloud Kitchen Business

Trends in a Cloud Kitchen Business

1. Increased demand for food delivery services
2. Adoption of cloud kitchens by established restaurant chains
3. Emergence of virtual restaurants and delivery-only brands
4. Integration of technology for efficient operations and data analysis
5. Shift towards sustainable practices and eco-friendly packaging

Challenges in a Cloud Kitchen Business

1. High upfront investment costs for setting up and equipping cloud kitchens
2. Limited physical customer interactions leading to reduced brand recognition and loyalty
3. Intense competition in the food delivery market
4. Operational challenges such as food quality control, inventory management, and delivery logistics
5. Maintaining consistent quality across multiple locations and delivery channels


In conclusion, starting a Cloud Kitchen Business can be rewarding and profitable.


However, conducting thorough market research, creating a solid business plan, and securing the necessary funding are crucial.


In addition, it is essential to find the right location, choose the right equipment and suppliers, and create a unique and inviting atmosphere for customers.


Following these steps, you can set your Cloud Kitchen Business up for success and build a business that customers will love for years.

Want to Save Time in your Business Launch?

  • How to Create a Business Plan
  • What is Market Research, USP, Niche & Positioning
  • How to find a suitable name for your business
  • How to create your brand image (Logo + Branding)
  • How to Register Your Business
  • How to Register for Taxes
  • How to get Licenses / Permits
  • How to Open a Business Bank Account
  • How to Get Business Insurance
  • Which Payment Processing Terminal (POS) to buy
  • How to get Funds for your Business
  • How to do Sales & Marketing – Offline & Online
  • Why have a Website / Blog / Social Media
  • How to build & train your Dream Team
  • How to provide Excellent Customer Service
  • Buying an Old Business Vs Franchisee Vs Own Brand from Scratch

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A. A cloud kitchen is a restaurant that operates exclusively online, with no physical dining space. Customers order food online or through delivery platforms, and the food is prepared in a central kitchen and delivered to the customer’s doorstep.

A. The advantages of starting a cloud kitchen business include lower startup costs, lower overhead expenses, greater flexibility in terms of location and menu, and the ability to serve a larger customer base through online ordering and delivery platforms.

A. The equipment you need to start a cloud kitchen business will depend on the type of food you are preparing. Generally, you will need commercial-grade kitchen appliances, such as ovens, fryers, grills, refrigerators, and dishwashers. You may also need packaging and delivery equipment, such as food containers, bags, and thermal carriers.

A. When creating a menu for your cloud kitchen business, consider your target audience, the cuisine you want to specialize in, and the ingredients that are readily available. You should also conduct market research and analyze customer feedback to ensure your menu items are appealing and profitable.

A. To market your cloud kitchen business, you can leverage social media platforms, online food ordering and delivery platforms, and email marketing. You can also partner with influencers and bloggers to promote your business, and offer special promotions and discounts to attract new customers.

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