The ‘Cloud Kitchen’ initiative is a program being implemented by Project Concern International (PCI), India, in collaboration with its partners Impact 360 Foundation and Xenon Livelihoods, with support from HSBC India. The program aims at developing self-employment skills among urban women self-help group (SHG) members and youths from marginalized communities to own and operate food service enterprises through cloud kitchens. The urban SHGs and their federated structures, by their design, are constituted by mobilizing women from urban poor households with the objective of engaging them in various income generation activities to bring them out of the vicious cycle of poverty.
The project is focused on developing 30 cloud kitchens across the three metro cities, viz. Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, covering more than 1500 women who are being trained on all aspects of food service such as business development, food preparation, packaging, managing digital platforms and systems, quality control, safety, hygiene, value chain management, etc.
As a part of this project, the SHG women, or SHG didis, have initiated their own brand of food enterprise, ‘Didi’s Mealbox’, which is to be adopted by all the 30 cloud kitchens across the three geographies. These cloud kitchens will be complemented by mobile units and dining outlets across the three cities, along with partnerships with online marketplaces such as Swiggy, Zomato etc. to enhance their income by utilizing all the sales channels.
The initiative is a unique example of the public-private-community partnership, wherein HSBC is providing seed capital to establish kitchens by procuring equipment and utensils, providing training to the local self-help group members on technical and managerial aspects like safety, hygiene, quality, bookkeeping, and customer service. The government is providing space for setting up the kitchen infrastructure, dining outlets, and also provisioning assured markets for these cloud kitchens to scale up. The community members are voluntarily mobilizing funds to undertake the operational expenses to provide affordable food primarily to the working professionals, students & new jobbers living in PGs, outside homes, and bachelors, giving them a taste of fresh homely food.