When ‘Too Many Cooks’ Create Successful Startups

By Lee So-Jeong
The Korea Herald, Seoul / Asia News Network

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) In Korea, the concept of a commercial shared kitchens is still very young. It was only last year that “WeCook” first brought the business model to Seoul.

The Korea Herald, Seoul / Asia News Network

This past June, Kim Tae-hyung finally achieved his long-held dream of running his own food business but with minimal risk.

The one-man restaurant, Seoul Poke, specializes in Hawaiian food and runs 100 percent on takeout. There’s no dining area. What’s unusual about this new startup is that Kim saved massively on his initial investment by forgoing not just an eat-in venue but also the purchase of kitchen appliances, which together often account for a huge proportion of a new restaurateur’s outlay.

Instead, Kim rents kitchen space from a workspace service called Simple Kitchen.

“While I do share the kitchen, I can be the owner of a single store,” Kim said. “I can operate freely. I rent here 10 hours a day. We are operating as a delivery service and are considering the need to expand our delivery area.”

Simple Kitchen is one of numerous commercial shared kitchens sprouting up in South Korea in recent years.

A commercial shared kitchen is a shared workspace made up of fully equipped independent kitchens. Some shared kitchens also provide back-office services including product feedback, marketing and accounting, which also reduce the costs of starting a business.

In Korea, the concept of a commercial shared kitchen is still very young. It was only last year that WeCook first brought the business model to Seoul.

Commercial shared kitchens serve two main purposes.

For fledgling restaurateurs, they offer a chance to get a grasp of the market as they prepare to launch their businesses. These pre-entrepreneurs can use rented cooking facilities before making major business decisions.

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