With restaurants facing an ever-increasing demand for delivery options, entrepreneur Shaf Rasul has been cooking up a storm with his latest venture.
Investment specialist SRA Ventures, owned by the Edinburgh-based businessman, is launching Crowd Kitchens – Scotland’s first ghost kitchen. These ready-to-use commercial kitchens have no signage, no front-of-house staff and no sit-in tables; they are for businesses making food exclusively for delivery.
There will be 12 kitchens available to rent by the hour or day, all under one roof in the former Shapes warehouse in the capital’s Sighthill.
Ghost kitchens have already seen a huge growth in North America, Europe and Asia, where restauranteurs have been able to reduce rent and labour costs over a traditional brick-and-mortar location, while also more efficiently managing customers’ requirements for deliveries.
It also gives companies the flexibility to expand their business to new areas, without taking the financial risk of setting up an actual restaurant.
Thanks to apps like JustEat and Deliveroo, the food delivery industry is growing rapidly and Shaf’s innovative approach is going to change the market in Scotland.
Shaf said: “Crowd Kitchens has been a project of mine that has been bubbling away for a while. I’ve seen how this type of business partnership between restaurants and delivery apps has been growing in places like America and China and I’m certain it will be a success here too.
“If you are an established restaurant, you might already do home delivery. But doing that from your current premises interferes with your busy serving times. Having a dedicated kitchen simply for delivery means food can be prepared far more efficiently. This means more of it, more deliveries and more profits.
“Crowd Kitchens is perfect for a start-up business too because they can be up and running in a fraction of the time it takes to set up a restaurant. The cost of using Crowd Kitchens will be far less than signing a lease or mortgaging premises.
“The location is the perfect base for serving Edinburgh and the surrounding areas. Ordering a takeaway is going to be as easy as pie!”
About the food delivery industry
According to the MCA Foodservice Delivery Report 2018, food delivery was worth £8.1billion in 2018 – up 13.4% year-on-year – and contributed to 8% of the food service market. They found 60 per cent of UK adults are active delivery users and order, on average, twice a month. MCA predicted that the market will be worth £9.8billion by 2021. (These stats were published on ahdb.org.uk in February 2019.)
Self-made millionaire Shaf is an expert in setting up and selling tech and property companies. He established optical-media distribution business E-Net Computers in 2000 which went on to become the largest storage media distributor in Europe and one of the biggest buyers of optical storage products in the world.
He also founded commercial property specialists SRA Ventures and developed a wide venture capital investment portfolio focusing on asset management and ecommerce. He has bought, sold, asset-managed, developed and invested in over half a billion pounds worth of property.
He took part in Dragons’ Den Online and is Strathclyde University’s Resident Entrepreneur.