As restrictions have been lifted, interest in dining out is back. Will this spell a new bright season for cloud kitchens?
Well, if the number of diners who showed up at the launch of Kraver’s Canteen’s Kra-Verse Food Hall is any indication, then the answer is a resounding yes.
Founded in 2020 by food industry veteran Eric “Cheeno” Dee, e-commerce authority Victor “VL” Lim and finance specialist Victor Mapua, Kraver’s Canteen is the fastest-growing cloud kitchen company in the country that houses popular food brands under one digital roof.
Its popularity grew at the height of the pandemic as people relied on food deliveries to satisfy their cravings.
And to keep the excitement of ordering food online going post-pandemic, Cheeno, VL and Victor, together with their partners Lance Gokongwei of Cebu Pacific; Christopher Po of Century Pacific and Shakey’s; George Pua of Rico’s Lechon; Brian Cu of Grab; and Paulo Campos of Zalora are disrupting the food delivery scene once again with the newest culinary meta-verse — Kra-Verse Food Hall.
“It’s been two years since we started Kraver’s,” says Cheeno during the virtual launch. “After some trials and errors, we realized that consumers are getting the short end of the stick.” Everything is delivered for the same — if not higher — amount, but they don’t get to enjoy the ambience and service from a restaurant.
“We want to bring more value to every order,” adds Cheeno, who is the son of restaurant tycoons Rikki and Beng Dee of Foodee Global Concepts, of which he is also COO. “And when it comes to restaurants, it’s really experiential. In a brick-and-mortar space, I choose your cups, plates, spoons and forks. I choose the leather you sit on. I choose the music that you listen to. So why not do that for the delivery space?”
An interactive virtual food hall
Kra-Verse Food Hall is the country’s first interactive virtual space that will change how you think food delivery works.
The virtual food hall brings that restaurant experience to a virtual platform. To experience the metaverse, head over to www.kra-verse.com. But before you “enter,” you need to take on an avatar, walk around the virtual Kra-Verse, interact with real people handling the brands, order and have your food delivered hot and fresh!
“While a physical food hall would have space limitations, at Kra-Verse it’s pretty much infinite,” enthuses Cheeno. “We can have an infinite number of tenants. We can have seasonal tenants as well. It offers an infinite space for creativity as well.”
Being a veteran of the F&B industry, Cheeno surely knows how to delight diners. However, running a cloud kitchen is a totally different ballgame. He knew that they needed to level up their delivery game and stand out.
And so, Cheeno and his team worked on creating this metaverse to be as “thoughtful” as possible — in the product it offers, services, packaging and in the way the virtual space works like an actual food hub where you can check out the various food stalls, chat with the staff and other diners.
Stand out one box at a time
Kra-verse Food Hall is also where the Kraver’s Group introduced six new food brands — CharSilog, Krave, I Love Stew, Jok Time Lugaw, Everything Gravy’d and soon, D. Wade Burgers. The team sourced top-of-the-line packaging materials with special self-heating packets and designed the most thoughtful way “to physicalize the cloud kitchen.”
“The packaging is exclusive for Kra-Verse,” notes Cheeno.
Check out these six new food brands at Kra-Verse Food Hall:
• CharSilog is new age silog served in stackable containers designed for ease of transport and consumption. “So anything that’s silog-able will be in this brand,” shares Cheeno. There’s pork belly, ribs and chicken served with fried egg and garlic-ginger-scallion fried rice.
• Krave. With the tagline “Everything you crave is not in your fridge,” Krave is the answer to every possible craving and food trend. “If sushi bake was a thing back then, then this is where sushi bake would be,” says Cheeno. Krave also serve platters that are perfect for sharing. I personally love its signature group meal, Tomato Rice with BBQ Pork Belly, Lechon Baka and Roasted Chicken. Another way the Kraver’s team showed their thoughtfulness is through Sushi Bake To-Go, a single-serve sushi bake for solo diners.
• I Love Stew is inspired by Sun Nong Dan, Cheeno’s favorite Korean restaurant in Los Angeles that serves spicy kalbi and galbi. “It’s served in our signature self-heating containers. Just add water and you’ll see the magic happen right in front your eyes.” Again, the heating element is just another aspect of Kraver’s thoughtfulness.
• Jok Time Lugaw is where comedy and timeless comfort food meet. “The name comes from the Korean (juk), Thai (jok), and Chinese (jook) words for lugaw (congee),” explains Cheeno. Each order of the piping-hot hearty lugaw comes with the team’s “Joke of the Month.” Indeed, this Jok is no joke!
• Everything Gravy’d. This is perfect for diners who miss the sizzle and smoke of a food court. Served in self-heating containers, Gravy’d brings sizzling food slathered with gravy to your home minus the sizzling plate. “Whether it’s spicy lechon baka, a burger steak or a cheeseburger steak, it would always be served nice, hot, and bubbly,” enthuses Cheeno.
• D. Wade Burgers. Kra-Verse Food Hall has successfully drafted NBA legend Dwyane Wade to be part of their starting lineup through the D. Wade Burgers. “Kraver’s is an enabler of brands,” says Cheeno. “Wade’s second highest fan base is in the Philippines. And so, it was a no-brainer for them to approach us for this partnership.” So, watch out for the Manila Burger, a cheeseburger topped with lechon baka!? ?“Again, Kraver’s Canteen is a ghost kitchen. We don’t have our presence in the physical space. So it’s going to be a little bit more difficult for us to create rapport or to introduce ourselves to the consumers. By creating Kra-Verse Food Hall and offering these food brands, we hope to achieve all that and more,” adds Cheeno.
Indeed, the future looks bright and delightful for Kraver’s Canteen and its clients.