Many shared kitchens have been popping up in Singapore over the past few years.
Foodpanda has two shared kitchens here, while GrabFood announced earlier this year that it will open its own kitchens.
Such shared kitchens house several food concepts under one roof, and help restaurants to bypass the high rental and manpower costs that is typical of dine-in establishments.
This has caused a rise in delivery-only brands, which basically are brands that operate independently out of a shared kitchen.
Denied On Deliveroo
Last month, Smart City Kitchens opened its first site at the JTC Space in Tampines North and is apparently the only operator that is not affiliated with a delivery firm.
Restaurants that rent kitchen space have to find their own means of sale and delivery, such as by partnering with food delivery services.
Smart City Kitchens said that its restaurants have the freedom to choose where they open their outlets, and which online food delivery platforms to use.
However, some eateries based there told The Straits Times that Deliveroo is the only delivery service that has refused to list them on its platform.
One of the eateries is Biryani Box, which will begin operations next week.
Co-founder Shubham Gupta said he wanted to expand his business as a delivery-only eatery, and closed his dum briyani stall at Alexandra Village six months ago.
To pursue this delivery-only ambition, he approached Deliveroo to join one of their shared kitchens but was told there was no availability.
“Deliveroo was initially working with us to set up, but when I called them, they said they will be pausing because they are not working with Smart City Kitchens,” he said in an interview with The Straits Times.
He added that “being shut out of a percentage of the [food delivery] market would really make it a challenge.”
Another affected eatery is Raj Group of Restaurants.
It already has four outlets listed on Deliveroo, but was told it would not be added to the platform just a few days before the launch of the Smart City Kitchens.
Its sales and marketing manager Harsha Raja said that “there was no clear explanation”. It didn’t make much sense to her, since Deliveroo stands to benefit from the potential commissions.
Deliveroo Denies Claims
Following this report, Vulcan Post has reached out to Deliveroo for comments.
It clarified that it has not made any decision nor informed any restaurant partner that they cannot work with Smart City Kitchens.
“Deliveroo is in discussions with Smart City Kitchens and we are evaluating what is in the best interests for our restaurant partners and customers,” said a Deliveroo spokesperson.
Featured Image Credit: Deliveroo