One significant development during the coronavirus pandemic is the rise of the food delivery business. During the first few months of the pandemic in the country in 2020, when people were forced to stay home and outside movements were restricted by the strict implementation of the so-called “enhanced community quarantine,” most families took to cooking their own meals given the resources they had at home, that they could buy from the nearest rolling store, and that they were provided with by the local government in the form of ayuda. It was back to the basics, mostly just rice and canned goods, which creative minds later turned into “gourmet” treats by adding fresh ingredients. There were no choices, since restaurants were closed for a long time and the items they offered for pick-up and delivery were limited.
But for people used to good food and dining out in restaurants and hotels, this situation was bound to change. Slowly, food businesses shifted to food delivery, and delicious dishes for such purposes were developed, so with packaging and delivery systems that would make sure the food reached customers in good condition and in good time. People were willing to stay home longer, but they were already clamoring for good, restaurant-quality food that they could not exactly replicate at home. Particularly on special occasions, such as birthdays, they wanted to celebrate with a spread of celebration dishes, and for regular days, when meals were just survival food in the first few months of the pandemic, they wanted to feel that there was hope in the situation by being able to enjoy delicious meals with the family.
That’s where — and when — catering companies and restaurants came into the picture. Since mass gatherings were not allowed, celebrations such as weddings and anniversaries were postponed indefinitely, they had no steady income coming in should they decide to stick to their regular catering and dine-in services. And with no profitable money flow, they would have to let go of their staff. Thus, the shift to food delivery services presented itself as the most viable alternative to keep businesses afloat during the pandemic and, hopefully, make money as well later on.
One such company that consciously made such a shift was Kitchen City. One of the biggest food concessionaires in the Philippines, Kitchen City is backed by 20 years of experience in the food
industry. It runs the cafeterias of several big multinational companies, manufacturing plants, business process outsourcing companies (BPO), and universities. It is also one of the leading dietary in-patient service providers for top hospitals in the Philippines, as well as one of the biggest corporate events caterers, with the capacity to handle an event with over 15,000 guests in attendance.
But then, the pandemic happened, and things changed. In keeping with the changes of the times and the demands of the “new normal,” Kitchen City launched its fourth business model, Kitchen City (KC) Frozen Meals, during the pandemic last year. It is a line of cooked viands that have been blast frozen in high quality food containers and sold directly to customers, who need only to reheat the frozen food in the microwave oven or stovetop for a few minutes and enjoy it with rice afterwards.
Developed by Kitchen City’s over 200 chefs and cooks over the past 20 years, KC Frozen Meals represent the best-selling dishes in the company’s cafeteria operations. There are over 60 chicken, pork, beef, fish and vegetable dishes to choose from. Chicken dishes, for instance, range from such common comfort foods as chicken adobo, chicken curry, chicken tinola and chicken afritada, to other flavors like chicken teriyaki, kung pao chicken, chicken satay and KC Signature Boneless Chicken Pastel. Vegetable dishes are equally interesting, with such selections as monggo gisado, chopsuey, pinakbet, laing with crispy pork topping, vegetable kare-kare, spicy tofu with oyster mayo, ginataang langka with pork strip topping and gulay na santol.
The frozen meals come in 600-gram Family Size and in 300-gram Regular Size at very reasonable prices. The chicken, pork and fish selections, for example, are priced at P300 to P375 for 600 grams and at P165 to P200 for the 300-gram order. Vegetables are all available at P250 (600 grams) and P135 (300 grams). The beef dishes are slightly higher, ranging from P425 to P550 (600 grams) and from P235 to P300 (300 grams). But look at some of the choices: KC Signature Beef Caldereta, KC Signature Beef Kare-Kare, Korean beef stew, roast beef with mushroom gravy and rosemary marble potatoes, beef lengua with mushroom gravy and giant Swedish meatballs with peppercorn sauce.
Only the KC Signature dishes have a price tag of P550 (600 grams) and P300 (300 grams).
A number of these selections can also be ordered in single-serve rice meals at P99 to P130 (if viand and rice only) and at P125 to P160 (if you want vegetables to go with the viand and rice). And if your choice of a rice meal happens to be a vegetable dish, it goes for just P80 since you won’t have a need for a vegetable siding.
Aside from these tummy-filling dishes and meals, Kitchen City offers three desserts (leche flan, frozen Decadent Cake and frozen Oreo peanut butter cake) at P350 each, three pizzas (all-meat pizza, pepperoni pizza, and Hawaiian pizza) at P55 each, and four pies (beef caldereta pie, American BBQ Pie, tuna pie and chicken pastel pie) at P55 each.
All these offer convenience in uncertain times — delicious meals that need only to be reheated for a few minutes to be enjoyed. Orders may be placed online via Kitchen City’s website (kcfrozenmeals.com) or Facebook (Kitchen City Frozen Meals).