Jakarta, Indonesia – GrabKitchen, the cloud kitchen arm of tech and superapp company Grab, will be closing its operations in Indonesia by December 19, resulting in layoffs amounting to around 10 to 20 people.

A report from Tech In Asia notes that GrabKitchen saw inconsistencies in its growth in the local market. In its four years of operations, GrabKitchen has seen its business move to an asset-light business model.

Mayang Schreiber, chief communications officer at Grab Indonesia, said, “This situation forced us to take a difficult decision, which is not to continue our GrabKitchen operations in Indonesia.”

Regarding the layoffs, Grab said that some of its laid-off employees will be transferred to other divisions under Grab’s operations. They will receive compensation and fulfilment of obligations in accordance with the country’s regulations.

At the moment, GrabKitchen has over 48 foot points across Indonesia.

The GrabKitchen shutdown and layoffs contradicts Grab’s recent statements, stating that they won’t be seeing large layoffs despite the weak market.

“Around mid-year, we did some kind of specific reorganisations, but I know other companies have been doing mass layoffs, so we don’t see ourselves in that category,” Alex Hungate, chief operating officer at Grab, told Reuters in September.

However, Hungate did note back then that they will be shutting down its ‘dark stores’ or storage facilities for its groceries, and slowing the growth of its cloud kitchens.

“The other area where we’ve really tightened our strategic intent is in financial services where we were growing payments, wallets and non-bank financial lending quite significantly off-platform and on our platform,” he added.

The layoffs brought by the GrabKitchen shutdown follow a slew of similar updates globally, including with Carsome, Shopee, Netflix, Snap, Oracle, and Hootsuite

Manila, Philippines – GrabKitchen finally gets a second branch in the Philippines, which will be located in Sampaloc, Metro Manila, generally known as the ‘University Belt’, housing a number of top colleges and universities in the district. The branch adds to the overall 50 known GrabKitchen branches in the Southeast Asia region.

The concept of GrabKitchen revolves around a mix-and-match feature, which allows customers to satisfy their food orders from different merchants all in one order. 

The second GrabKitchen Philippine branch brings together eight brands to provide more food choices to consumers. It also aims to provide food entrepreneurs the opportunity to launch their brands in new locations with a lower setup cost and to reach a wider base of customers through GrabFood. 

The eight food chain brands include Conti’s, Sinangag Express, CoCo Fresh Tea and Juice, as well as Omakase, Mister Kabab, and Army Navy, and also Pizza Telefono, and Happilee. 

According to Grab Philippines Head of Deliveries EJ Dela Vega, GrabKitchen responds to both consumer demand and helping food and beverage entrepreneurs succeed in their digital business stints.

“Our first GrabKitchen has enabled merchants to establish their brands in Makati, where they didn’t use to have a physical store, with minimal upfront investments. At the same time, it has also provided food lovers the option to enjoy different cuisines they love in a single order and pay one delivery fee. We hope to bring the same benefits to consumers and businesses through the opening of our Sampaloc branch,” Dela Vega stated.

The country’s first branch was launched at shopping mall Glorietta 2 located in top business district, Makati City, where it facilitated six merchants.

Dela Vega also added that these merchants will add variety in terms of food choices in Manila. Omakase and Happilee are opening their kitchens in Manila for the first time, while the others hope to gain more customers through GrabKitchen. He further shared that Grab considered several factors in shortlisting the merchants, including identifying the in-demand food items in the area and leveraging data from historical orders to address cuisine gaps. 

“We are hopeful that our Sampaloc, Manila branch will give foodies more freedom to mix and match their orders. They can also take advantage of the fact that our GrabKitchen merchants offer long-distance deliveries up to 10 kilometers,” Dela Vega added.

GrabKitchen was a concept first introduced in Indonesia in 2018 and has since become the largest regional cloud kitchen operator in Southeast Asia. GrabKitchen’s branches expand in countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia, where it has also recently opened a first branch. 

To celebrate the launch of the newest GrabKitchen branch, Grab is offering free delivery to customers from February 9 to 28, 2021 for orders with a minimum price tag of ₱550.