e27 | Sainul Abudheen K
Going into 2022, Victor Lim and the team realised they needed to do something different to stay ahead of the curve in the cloud kitchen industry. The Philippines economy was re-opening, and dine-in was hitting pre-pandemic numbers, so the timing was perfect for experimenting with new features.
“We were originally working on an interactive VR experience in a virtual food hall concept. However, we couldn’t achieve that ‘wow’ experience we looked for. So we shifted gears, and in the end, we found a much better way by launching the Kra-Verse Food Hall (KFH),” Lim, Co-Founder and CEO Kraver’s Group (operator of the cloud kitchen startup Kraver’s Canteen), tells e27.
Kra-Verse Food Hall is a concept developed by Kraver’s Group to provide an interactive metaverse experience for F&B brands. Customers can walk into the ‘buildings’ of its brand partners, explore the virtual food hall, and run to other customers walking around in the space with live video capabilities. The KFH staff walk around as ‘waiters’, taking live orders and answering customers’ questions.
“The objective here is to recreate the experience of an offline food brand, wherein customers can walk in, browse menus, and order their favourite dishes. Being online-only brands, cloud kitchen startups don’t get the same branding and offline recognition benefits as other brands, which is a disadvantage. By utilising these new technologies, we just found a way to turn our digital nativity into an advantage,” Lim explains.
Kra-Verse Food Hall is a collection of six in-house online brands, including CharSilog, Jok Time Lugaw, I Love U, Stew, Everything Gravy’d, and krave. The firm has also partnered with US-based D. Wade Burger, a brand owned by NBA legend Dwyane Wade. Kraver’s Canteen will operate the brand exclusively in the Philippines and set up meet-n-greets and various activities for Wade to connect deeper with the archipelago.
As part of the KFH project, Kraver’s Canteen has also introduced a new self-heating technology. It utilises activated carbon and measured distilled water to create a ‘self-heating’ chemical reaction, which keeps the food hot for up to 15 minutes.
The team also explores new use cases for this technology, from boiling stews to sizzling platters, melted nacho cheese to dessert fondues.
The Philippines is a fast-growing market for Web3 and metaverse. There are different versions of and applications for metaverse technology, and many of them are doing well in the Philippines. The Philippines is a key market for the popular play-to-earn game Axie Infinity, which is a rage among the youth. It shows the incredible cycle of growth in technology and innovation in the country in general, particularly these last few years. Kraver’s aims to leverage this growth to introduce new products.
“Kra-Verse Food Hall is just one of the most immediate and fun things we were able to set up for the customers that apply this technology, but we are also investing in other applications,” Lim notes. “We will pilot its first dine-in location in Makati in partnership with Kaya Founders to enable diners to enjoy a plated meal from Kraver’s while browsing and purchasing NFTs from local artists and creators. This space is intended for founders and funders to get together with an augmented meta-experience.”
Lim says he is excited about the metaverse space and its future potential for artists, creators, and brands. “It’s super interesting because there are so many different forms of metaverses and applications that may be relevant for various brands. We found a fun way to use this technology for the F&B space. Still, the space would be equally as exciting for instant commerce brands or any other plays that leverage the digital economy, online-first,” he concludes.
Launched in 2020 by Lim, Eric Dee, and Victor Mapua, Kraver’s is backed by Quest Ventures and Foxmont Capital. The startup recently raised a US$3 million Series A round led by Quest Ventures Asia Fund II. This came almost a year after securing a US$1.5 million seed round led by Foxmont Capital.
The cloud kitchen’s list of investors also includes Brian Cu, Christopher Po, George Pua, Lance Gokongwei, Paulo Campos III, the Foodee Group, Oak Drive Ventures, Martin Cu, Francis Wee, Anthony Oundjian and Rohit Gulati.
Link to original story: https://e27.co/kra-verse-food-hall-where-cloud-kitchen-meets-metaverse-20220509/