OnTrend Concepts

September 8, 2022

Peter Cook, Editor

MrBeast Burger was the big news from this past week, but don’t let that distract you from some other big news:  Microsoft’s investment in CloudKitchens, the launch of Empower Delivery (a really impressive system which we have seen in action firsthand), and plenty more.

Next week OnTrend Concepts will be hosting a luncheon in London for leaders in the ghost kitchen, delivery, and foodtech space.  We might be able to squeeze in one or two more attendees, so if you are not already signed up to attend, are heavily involved in the industry, and are interested, please shoot Pete Cook (pcook@ontrendconcepts.com) an email to see if you can get on the invitation list!  We’ll be holding it on Wednesday, September 14th.

And now, the news…

Issue #109

The First MrBeast Burger Restaurant Has Already Broken A World Record

After the grand opening, Donaldson claimed on Twitter that the MrBeast Burger restaurant opening had broken the record for "most burgers sold in a day by a single restaurant." Not everyone was keen to believe Donaldson's claim — in response, Guinness World Records tweeted back, "Show us proof." We'll be sure to congratulate the CEO of MrBeast partner company Virtual Dining Concepts when she joins us at our London luncheon next week.

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MrBeast Burger expands in Connecticut with 19 ‘ghost kitchen’ locations to choose from

Most of these locations inhabits an already existing kitchen or restaurant, so don’t be too surprised if you pull up to the Friendly’s in Vernon or the On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina in Rocky Hill.

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Microsoft invests in Uber founder's latest project, CloudKitchens

Last November, Microsoft participated in a round of funding for Uber's co-founder Kalanick that raked in $850 million and launched his dark kitchen startup project dubbed CloudKitchens to a $15 billion valuation.

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Travis Kalanick expands ‘dark kitchens’ venture across Latin America

Uber co-founder has been snapping up local rivals as part of a push to quietly build new empire.

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Smart software solution for virtual restaurants makes its debut

Digital expert Meredith Sandland and Clustertruck CEO Chris Baggott join forces to create Empower Delivery: an in-house tech stack solution for ghost kitchens. Congratulations to Chris and Meredith!

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Data Snapshot: Ghost kitchens lead $4.8bn in Cloud Retail Infrastructure funding

Investments in Cloud Retail Infrastructure grew 97.5% YOY to $4.8 billion in 2021, according to AgFunder’s 2022 AgriFoodTech Investment Report. The figure accounts for 9% of the total $51.7 billion in agrifoodtech investment activity last year.

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How to value a delivery company

Peter Backman looks at whether delivery companies are technology companies or supply/service companies? Interesting insights. We look forward to grabbing coffee with Peter in London next week.

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ShiftPixy Labs Double After Plans to Spin Off ShiftPixy Labs

ShiftPixy shares doubled to $23.78 in premarket trading after the company said it plans to transfer the Virtual Brand development pipeline and technology stack of ShiftPixy Labs to a wholly owned subsidiary.

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Uber, Nuro strike 10-year deal for robot food delivery

Uber has entered into a 10-year partnership with Nuro, an autonomous vehicle (AV) company, to offer food deliveries in Houston and Mountain View, California. The collaboration will begin this fall.

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Black Angus Draws Sales from C3's Virtual Brand, Umami Burger

Deborah Shapiro, VP of Growth at Black Angus Steakhouse, says, “We’re excited to embark on this new partnership with C³ to enable us to reach outside of the box of our current consumer and tap further into the virtual restaurant space.”

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How the CEO of Wingstop plans to boost sales by dropping DoorDash as an exclusive delivery partner and finally entering the chicken sandwich wars.

In an interview last week with Insider, Skipworth said he's betting on three plays – entering the chicken sandwich wars, introducing bundled meal deals, and adding Uber Eats as a new delivery partner. That latter is a significant move as DoorDash has been the chain's exclusive delivery partner for years.

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Last-mile delivery: Driving the agenda forward on sustainability

Enhancing underlying technology, the move towards local fulfillment, and the electrification of fleets are part of the solution

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The future of cloud kitchens: Efficiency, growth, expansion and more

Customer demand for outstanding food delivered directly to their door is rising.

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Interview: JustKitchen EVP Operations Michael Liu on Their Unique Operating Model and New Fresh Pet Food Brand

Interesting discussion on their hub-and-spoke model. They also have a new fresh pet food brand. People order food delivery for their pets? That’s a little sad.

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Podcast: How digital natives and virtual food halls are creating the restaurant experience of tomorrow

In this episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches, Sam talks with Tiffany Fiedler, cofounder of Underground Food Court, a Washington, D.C. based concept that is part food court and part ghost kitchen, with 5 proprietary brands.

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YouTube stars The Sidemen talk fried chicken — and plans for world domination

What’s the next move when you’ve got more YouTube subscribers than Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift combined? As it turns out, two things: open a chicken shop — and aim for world domination. Perhaps they have been watching MrBeast’s success and want a “taste” of virtual restaurants.

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EU: Peckwater Brands acquires Honest Food Company's operations in four countries

Peckwater, which already has operations in five countries (UK, US, France, Belgium, and the UAE) will expand its international footprint by adding HFC’s operations in Finland, Sweden, Hungary, and Czechia. We look forward to chatting with one of the Peckwater Brands founders at our lunch in London next week!

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EU: Hosted Kitchens plans six new sites it hopes will create hundreds of jobs

Irish startup Hosted Kitchens has six new ‘dark kitchen’ hosting facilities across various planning stages that could indirectly create as many as 360 jobs when fully operational.

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EU: France clamps down on delivery depot 'dark stores'

Faced by growing protests from local people as well as city authorities, President Emmanuel Macron's government has decreed that the stores be classified as warehouses, rather than as shops - meaning that in Paris and other cities most will probably be forced to close.

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India: Rebel Foods names Essence as its integrated media agency in India

Led out of its Mumbai office, Essence’s scope of work includes strategy, analytics, media planning and media activation for the internet restaurant company’s brand marketing activities.

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India: Restaurants go easy on cloud kitchens as dine-in bounces back

Most restaurants now admit to going easy on opening standalone ghost kitchens. However, others said they continue to scale up their delivery-only brands given the success they have seen in the model.

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India: Cloud Kitchens can supply their products to multiple brands as long as they comply with the norms: FSSAI

According to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), a cloud kitchen’s registered entity can supply its products to “innumerable brands as long as it complies with the norms and the E-commerce platforms are obliged to display the FSSAI licence and registration number of the concerned entity on their platforms.”

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Japan: Shikomel Raises 820 Million Yen for New Platform

Shikomel matches centralized cloud kitchens with restaurants.

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South Africa: Millat Investments Jumps Into the Dark Kitchen Space, Launching Two Food Brands

First hotel in South Africa to use their kitchens for virtual brands has partnered with Uber East to launch brands Dhaba and Gimba.

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