Cloud kitchen or ghost kitchen service boomed during the Covid-19 pandemic. People were afraid to go out to eat and drink in restaurants, so they ordered in. Now that the pandemic fears have subsided, people have started visiting restaurants and bars. But curiously cloud kitchens still seem to be faring well. They have been catering to customers who are working or partying till late hours of the night, when conventional eateries are closed. Khaanpin Foods and Tours Pvt. Ltd started a ghost kitchen service in 2018 and has seen both the challenges and rewards of this relatively new member of Nepal’s food service industry. Anushka Nepal of ApEx talks to its founder Isha Balla.
1. What inspired you to start a Khaanpin?
I started my career as an iOS developer and a content strategist in 2015. The working hours were long and I was constantly chasing deadlines. I had no time to cook and do the dishes. Eating out in restaurants was an option but they were closed when I was working till late at night. The idea for Khaanpin came from the necessity of food service for people who worked at night.
2. How did you turn that idea into a reality?
We started out small and with limited resources by renting an apartment in Lalitpur. Our objective was to provide food of all varieties to our clients at unconventional hours. My friends and family were very supportive of Khaanpin, which boosted my morale during the early days. Khaanpin is self-funded business. I have three other partners helping with the business. We are proud that today Khaanpin Foods and Tours Pvt. Ltd is Nepal’s leading food-tech hospitality company and the top cloud kitchen offering a wide range of food, bakery, and grocery selections all day all year in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
3. How is Khaanpin different from other cloud kitchen platforms?
Khaanpin is a multi brand cloud kitchen. We deliver Continental, Nepali, Indian, Chinese, Korean, Indo-Chinese and Newari dishes from our kitchen. Our menu is optimized to ensure food quality, ease of production and quick delivery. Our kitchen is centrally located at Pulchowk in Lalitpur, and at Zero K.M. in Pokhara for seamless and quick pickup and delivery.
4. What were the challenges when you started out?
It was relatively a new arena we were entering. As a result, it was hard to predict the outcome. The risk at the time seemed very high. However, with time, consistent efforts, tons of research and many hits and trials, the business took off. At Khaanpin, we take pride in calling ourselves a technologically driven hospitality company. Three business partners including me come from computer engineering background, so we have a robust technical system for every part of the order cycle. Our customers can place their orders from multiple platforms and all of them are monitored and handled by our in-house process management software.
5. What is the long-term vision of Khaanpin?
We are a woman-led company bringing freedom to food choices and availability 24/7. Khaanpin has provided employment opportunities to many people. We have more than 100 people working with us right now. Our long-term vision is to build an ecosystem around food service through vertical integration with farmers and producers, as well as introducing new innovations for pre-packed ready-to-eat meals. Khaanpin aims to set a benchmark in the Nepali service industry by providing quality food, timely delivery, and great customer service.