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Digital Food Hall 3 SQUARE pools food industry know-hows to scale up restaurants and increase margins

Aimee Wu 2021/06/17

Victor J. Chow, former COO of HonestBee and FoodPanda, builds a digital food hall that provides kitchen spaces, delivery service, and consultancy advice to brick-and-mortar restaurant owners. Restaurant owners can expect to drive down costs and increase margins through services from 3 SQUARE.

Empty streets, quiet shops greet you as you quickly pass by what used to be the busiest block in Taipei City. Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak, the way we purchase food day to day is disrupted. Across the globe, sit-down dining is trending negatively, with a 85% decline during the pandemic.

Restaurant owners are under growing pressure because they are struggling to survive with lower order and higher costs. More are striving to survive through food delivery. Victor J. Chow, former COO of HonestBee and CEO of FoodPanda Taiwan, saw this problem and aimed to turn the tables around.

Victor founded 3 SQUARE, a digital food hall which hosts several hand-picked dining brands, while offering a kitchen space that allows take-out orders to be filled. Digital food hall is taken from the concept of cloud kitchens. Cloud kitchens are cooking spaces made for delivery only, shared utilities and standardized food preparation lower costs for F&B (Food and Beverage) brands, while pushing for orders to grow.

The name 3 SQUARE is based on the common English phrase “three square meals a day”. "Square" also denotes proper and satisfying.

Cloud kitchens, a new way to ramp up orders

Cloud kitchen is a smart way for restaurants to cut down on costs, including rental charges, labor costs, and the overhead of operations. Compared with 275,000 USD to open a traditional restaurant, only 20,000 USD is needed to rent and open a cloud kitchen.

3 SQUARE also offers F&B consultancy services. In the traditional restaurant mindset, menus could be as long as 20 pages; however, this kind of cumbersome reading would only bore delivery shoppers. 3 SQUARE's team of seasoned chefs help brands in their digital food hall streamline their menus, which targets dishes that are easy-to-prepare, standardization, prompting a higher revenue per square foot.

Apart from offering cloud kitchen services to existing brands, 3 SQUARE also established 6 virtual brands itself. These 6 brands consist of Taiwanese, Korean, American fried chicken, spicy buffalo wings, Japanese sandwiches, and Fish & Chips. The menus are designed with overlapping ingredients, which reduces cooking time and allows orders to move quickly.

3 SQUARE developed 6 virtual brands. Flavors are diverse; however, the food preparation process is streamlined. 6 different brands could be cooked, and ready to serve in a single cloud kitchen.

Experienced team in the F&B industry

Victor J. Chow, Co-founder and CEO of 3 SQUARE is a Taiwanese American who has a strong affinity for the dining industry. He was immersed in the food business early on- Victor's family run 40 restaurants in the United States.

The 3 SQUARE team is made up of people who share the same interest and passion in the F&B industry. Many of them are Victor's colleagues during his tenure at HonestBee and Foodpanda, while some of them are veteran chefs that worked in well-known hotels such as Ritz Carlton. Having a group of experts in the food delivery industry and enthusiasts in top-tier culinary arts, 3 SQUARE is equipped with the proper working knowledge to help F&B brands survive and thrive.

Experience in the field is of great importance due to complexity in the food industry. For example, people in Korea might crave for fried chicken and beer late at night, or Japan might require stricter kitchen regulations. Diverse customer preferences and compliance with local regulations are two of the main difficulties that cloud kitchens face. 3 SQUARE is confident due to their team of experts.

Focusing on the Asia Pacific region: where food delivery market is thriving

3 SQUARE chose Taiwan as its first market. Food delivery market is looking good these days in Taiwan, with a forecasted revenue of over US $1 billion in 2021. Its next step is other countries in the APAC region, including Southeast Asia, Japan and Hong Kong, of which the team has previous working knowledge.

Victor says 3 SQUARE is oversubscribed in the seed round, and is looking for the next round of venture capital starting this summer. With COVID heating up in Taiwan and more seeking to fill up their stomachs with food delivery, 3 SQUARE is sure to see a surge in orders.

The food delivery market prospect is promising.
TAGS: mdi-pound Cloud kitchen
About the Author
Aimee Wu
Author >

Aimee Wu is a journalist and business news translator with a keen interest in sharing innovative technologies developed by Taiwan-based companies. She is pursuing a master’s degree in translation and interpretation at National Taiwan University.

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