Food & Drink

As Japan’s Delivery Market Grows in a COVID-19 World, A “Shared Delivery Kitchen” Appears

Tokyo’s restaurants are closing early, the number of delivery-only restaurants is growing, and this shared kitchen means more entrepreneurs can get in on it all.

Society and culture has changed a lot since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, bending to make sure life goes on despite the risk of infection around every corner, and restaurants that offer delivery―alongside the delivery services themselves―have certainly benefited from the tough situation. In Japan, after UberEats went from an up-and-coming business venture to a household name and similar Japanese companies have continued to succeed, delivery services have exploded and new options pop up every day. Of course, with all these delivery options, restaurants and hopeful entrepreneurs are scrambling to get orders in digitally when in-person dining has to end each day by 8 pm.

It’s in this atmosphere that shared-kitchen space KitchenBASE is making a move, riding on a wave of shared-kitchen popularity from the past few years, and expanding to a total of four kitchen spaces around Tokyo by April.

The kitchens are essentially rental spaces, handy for restaurants hoping to expand without opening a new shop, or for hopeful entrepreneurs interested in seeing if their food can make it in the cutthroat world of restaurant delivery. KitchenBASE promotes its shared kitchen spaces as being capable of supporting up to 35 different restaurants, and says that the buildings are more than just cooking areas―they’re made for sharing information, too, to “create synergy” among the restaurant workers.

While it’s unclear if the company is taking any particular precautions against COVID-19 in this space quite literally made for people to share, what is clear is that the delivery market is drawing interest. KitchenBASE is working hard to be accommodating―offering custom sales analysis for kitchen-users and a dumbwaiter made to send prepared food down to a delivery driver. The low-risk promise of a rental space is drawing the eyes of restaurateurs who want to get their food up on a delivery app, but aren’t quite ready to invest in a restaurant space yet.

In an official comment from KitchenBASE, they explained that while COVID-19 is helping the delivery market to expand, it’s also increasing competition, and Tokyo’s delivery market is getting fierce. KitchenBASE says that their shared kitchens offer the data analysis and support that kitchen managers need while organizing a busy kitchen. So despite the common impulse to stay away from shared spaces during the COVID pandemic, perhaps shared kitchens are the way forward in Japan. Only time will tell!

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