Over 100 Kitchen City cafeterias have innovated with Frozen Food Delivery to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
With the community quarantine put into place as a preventive measure against the global pandemic, Kitchen City partners Peejay Yambao and Jun Abelardo were looking for a way to introduce a new business model to suit the needs of the times.
They were quite proactive about it, saying, “around the first week of March, we have been observing the behavior of other countries when they were in lockdown. The only things that were allowed to operate were groceries, drugstores, and food delivery. So we had to pivot our business to food delivery to remain relevant.”
“We operate over 100 cafeterias and employ more than 1,000. Most of the cafeterias were closed for 3 months. We had to change business models to generate revenues so that we can keep employing our people,” Yambao says. “We have been fortunate that our change in business model yielded better than expected results,” Abelardo adds.
Helping the nation heal
The duo decided to launch Kitchen City Frozen Meals on March 17, packaging their well-loved commissary-made products into safe, delicious, and convenient reheatable dishes.
“We knew that this line of business would be needed to help our nation heal. We do not want people to go out, therefore we needed to provide affordable, delicious, and safe sustenance while people are locked down. We decided to add “Family Frozen Meals” to the name since we are delivering directly to home and in a serving size that is good for the family.”
The entrepreneurs who started their cafeteria concessionaire business in 2011 soon found out that their products enjoyed a wide appeal. “We started with only 11 menus, now we have 60,” Abelardo said, “At first, we tried our concept of Family Frozen Meals to family and found out that the concept appealed to a lot more people: seniors, condo dwellers, non-cooks, people who were working from home and people who just wanted convenience.
After a month on the lockdown, we realized that food safety was an integral part of people’s decision on where to buy their food, so we added our tagline, ‘Made Safe. Made Delicious.’”
With the knowledge that consumers were already facing so many uncertainties, they wanted to offer a variety of delicious meals that are guaranteed safe because they passed through their commissary’s stringent food preparation measures that have been trusted by their over 100 corporate concessionaire clients.
The Food Kitchen commissary is ideally situated in Food Terminal Inc, Taguig, with about 4,000 sqm broken down to a warehouse, fixed asset warehouse, freezer storage, butchering area, cooking area, packing area and the administration office. The facility is compliant with Food Safety protocols, HACCP, and GMP.
Safety starts with their raw materials, where they only use NMIS certified meats. They also always have Safety Officers on site who undergo rigorous Food Safety training. To further ensure that their frozen offerings are safe, they do their own deliveries. “We do not want to use 3rd party providers because we wanted to control the entire experience for food safety standards,” says Abelardo.
With their extensive menu offerings that have been enjoyed in canteens in Metro Manila and Calabarzon, Kitchen City’s 15 R&D chefs, from all over the Philippines, now prepare frozen versions of 60 choices from their signature dishes such as Beef Caldereta and other chef-prepared frozen food favorites such as Kare Kare, Roast Beef, and Salpicao.
Filipino pork dishes Sisig, Dinuguan, and Paksiw are also available along with chicken dishes Adobo and Curry among others. Light and healthy options include the Fish Fillet, salmon, and tuna dishes coupled with veggie goodies like Laing, Gising-Gising, and Tofu dishes. They have added desserts into their menu with the introduction of their best-selling Frozen Decadent Cake.
With the high-quality preparation that goes into each packed frozen dish, they are committed to keeping their products budget-friendly for families, with prices ranging from P250- P550 for a family serving of 4-5.
They plan to continue serving their convenient cuisine through the new normal and even the “next normal.” “I think we destroyed the mentality that frozen meals do not taste as good as freshly cooked food. Post-Covid, we hope that the value of convenience, safety and great taste will be fundamental reasons why people will continue patronizing our offerings, Abelardo adds.
Delighting the Customer
The success of Kitchen City’s Frozen Food comes from the managements’ customer-centric approach. “Our top pillar is Our Delighting Our Customer policy. When you listen to what they want, the business just keeps on getting stronger.
Furthermore, it really helps when you have professional people who can make that difference felt. Lastly, because we are in touch with and we listen to the market, expect us to continue providing new menus, expect us to find better efficiencies and giving it back. In short, since we never stop thinking about the ways to delight our customers, expect us to be better,” Yambao explains.
Kitchen City currently delivers in Metro Manila, Rizal, some parts of Laguna and Cavite. They are opening delivery hubs in Bulacan and other metropolitan cities. Customers who want to enjoy high-quality and delicious Kitchen City Frozen Meals can order via their website at this site, via messaging through the official Facebook page, calling 0286924601; 09774774990 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kitchen City accepts COD payments.
More Filipino innovations in business during the pandemic include the Dine To Unite platform that helps people enjoy meals from their favorite restaurants to keep businesses running and the DOST program for returning OFWs to set up their own technology businesses.
SEND CHEERS in the comments below to Kitchen City for innovating with frozen food delivery as its business model amid the COVID 19 pandemic.
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