TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the world adjusts to a new way of ordering and eating meals, cloud kitchen startup JustKitchen (JK) continues growing at an impressive pace domestically with its sights now set on the rest of Asia-Pacific and beyond.
Warren Tseng recently joined as the Asia-Pacific (APAC) Expansion Advisor, bringing his scaling experience from working at Uber and CloudKitchens to the table at just the right time. When asked what brought him to the company, Tseng told Taiwan News he noticed a shortage of delivery-first operators like JustKitchen with the right formula, from the operating model, the implementation of technology, data driven menu development, successful supply chain management, and the ability to get good-tasting food delivered to your doorstep.
Tseng said that in a short amount of time, JK has demonstrated an ability to scale and execute in Taiwan. The company began operations in March 2020 and has seen sales grow by an average of 40 percent a month, CEO Jason Chen (陳星豪) said during a May press conference.
JustKitchen currently operates 15 locations around Taiwan, handling around 4,000 orders a day, so roughly 120,000 a month. This month, one location will shut down, but four others are opening up, bringing the total to 18, COO Kent Wu (吳得暉) said.
Three of these locations will be partnerships with Marriot Hotel kitchens that have been sidelined due to the pandemic. JK is planning to have around 28-30 locations in the country by the end of the year, after which, the goal is to adjust the business model slightly to allow for franchising, Wu said.
The company marks an important milestone next week with the opening of its first location overseas in Hong Kong. As it looks to expand around APAC, the early blueprint calls for eight kitchens in H.K., eight in Singapore, and 15 in the Philippines by the end of 2022, according to Wu.
Tseng added that there are a lot of opportunities for JK down the road throughout Asia as consumers here are adopting food delivery at such a fast rate. Tseng and Wu said that South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia are also being considered.
As for JustKitchen’s U.S. plans, Wu said the initial goal is to have between two and five locations up and running by year’s end in L.A, after which comes San Francisco and Seattle. Chicago, New York, and Boston are also future possibilities.
The right ingredients
Tseng mentioned the big trend recently of restaurants going direct to consumer online, but said selling only one or a few popular products in addition to having to figure out logistics is not very efficient. This is where having a big brand portfolio like JK, in addition to a brand strategy and platform are important, Tseng said.
With Tseng on board, he hopes the company can utilize his experience operating throughout the region to see what international markets JK can tap into effectively. As more people gravitate toward delivery apps, having a data driven menu to fill in different cuisine gaps that exist throughout a city will be key.
JK’s ability to bring together real estate, supply chain, technology, food prep, packaging, branding, and distribution have positioned it well as it continues expansion and works to bring more international recognition to Taiwan’s wealth of food brands.