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Explained: As Delhi preps cloud kitchen policy, here's a look at other countries' rules

CNBCTV18 logo CNBCTV18 26-04-2022 Shoma Bhattacharjee
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The Dialogue and Development Commission (DDC) of Delhi is meeting cloud kitchen operators and food delivery aggregators on April 26 in a bid to develop a policy that will help generate two million jobs in five years in the national capital.

At the meeting, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government's think tank will hold discussions with the stakeholders about easing land and licence regulations in Delhi and setting up cloud kitchen clusters with plug-and-play features.

Several cloud kitchen operators and food delivery aggregators will attend the consultation that will be chaired by DDC Vice-Chairperson Jasmine Shah, an official statement said.

Also read: Domestic cloud kitchen biz expected to surge to $2 billion by 2024: Report

What are cloud kitchens?

Cloud kitchens, which are also known as ghost kitchens or dark kitchens, are used to prepare and cook food purely for delivery. This means that the dishes are prepared, cooked and despatched from a location which is not connected to a restaurant and hence the food cannot be eaten on the premises.

The concept has gathered pace in the past few years, especially during the pandemic when many restaurants pivoted to focus on cloud kitchen setups rather than dining in.

A Unilever report last year revealed that there were 7,500 cloud kitchens in China and around 1,500 in the US. In India, there were more than 3,500 cloud kitchens, the report said, quoting data from Euromonitor International.

Also read: Speciality Restaurants to open 15 new cloud kitchens; eyes Rs 500-550 cr revenue

Policies in the US

A city’s health department and planning department, which regulate the operation of restaurants, also govern the business of ghost kitchens. The same business and health standards apply to a cloud kitchen as a restaurant.

To operate a cloud kitchen, the business owner needs to have a licence for business operation, alcohol, food service, building occupancy, employer identification number and employee health. These licences will need to renewed on a regular basis.

Also read: Why should people invest in cloud kitchen business?

Laws in the UK

In the UK, cloud kitchen owners have to take planning permission to make material changes to the property for converting into a cloud kitchen. Those who do not require planning permission to convert the building would have to abide by the existing planning conditions or obligations that relate to the use of the building.

From the food safety perspective, one of the biggest challenges for cloud kitchen operators in the UK is transferring essential food information to the consumer that was otherwise easy in a restaurant.

Also read: View: Food aggregators beware, restaurants are a lot more than steaming kitchens

In October last year, the UK Food Information Amendment, also known as Natasha’s Law, came into effect. The law makes it mandatory for food businesses to provide full ingredient lists and allergen labelling on foods pre-packaged for direct sale on the premises.

Laws in China

In China, cloud kitchen facilities have to follow the same food safety laws and health codes as brick-and-mortar restaurants.

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