OnTrend Concepts

June 1, 2023

Peter Cook, Editor

Deals, selling drugs through delivery drivers, lay-offs, acquisitions, and solid podcasts.  Lots of ghost kitchen and virtual restaurant news this week!  For some reason, Canadian ghost kitchens have several announcements.  It is great to see the industry in growth mode up there!  We have some new investment opportunity announcements as well.


The industry has gotten some bad press as a result of a couple of companies who are struggling, but read the analysis included below and you’ll see some more thoughtful insights.  The rate of growth may be slowing, but there is still plenty of growth and opportunity out there, it just may take a little more research to find the right partner(s).


Check out the website for the 3rd Annual Ghost Kitchen Conference!  We’re adding new speakers and sponsors daily.  Related to the conference, the room block for the conference (and the Texas Restaurant Show) is nearly full.  Be sure to book your room via this link.  Once it is full, the room rate nearly doubles, so don’t wait.


Please reply to this newsletter if you have topics or speakers to suggest for the conference.  We’re making little tweaks to the agenda and interacting with a lot of industry leaders, but there is still time to make changes.  We’re very happy with how the speaker lineup is coming together.  It will not be the same speaker lineup you see at other events!


And now, the news…

Issue #143

Denny's: Consistent Winner In A Period Of Consolidation

Margin improvement through franchising and increasing ghost kitchen growth should help drive improvement.

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Nextbite cuts more jobs, some staff say it will restructure

Nextbite’s troubles follow at least two rounds of layoffs last year and no additional funding rounds since February 2021, according to Crunchbase. Still, the company expanded its portfolio as recently as a month ago, landing a deal with with Nathan’s Famous in April and with IHOP in March.

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JustKitchen Announces Proposed Going-Private Transaction

Just Kitchen, an operator of ghost kitchens specializing in the development of delivery-only food brands for customers, announces that it has entered into an arrangement agreement among the Company, JK Taiwan, the Company's wholly-owned Taiwanese subsidiary, and JF Investment Co., pursuant to which the Purchaser will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of the Company by way of a statutory plan of arrangement under the Business Corporations Act (British Columbia).

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Coho Collective Kitchens Inc. Announces Eighth and Ninth Locations, Along with Closing of Previously Announced Non-brokered Private Placement

Coho Collective Kitchens, a commercial real estate and food technology company that provides private and shared kitchen and food production space to a variety of businesses, is excited to announce the opening of two new facilities in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Montreal-Based Gourmet Salad Brand Mandy’s Sets Ambitious Expansion Plans, Eyeing National And International Growth

With eight locations currently operating in Montreal plus its latest in Ossington in Toronto and two ghost kitchens in Toronto, the company has plans to grow to many more markets.

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NextGen Food Robotics Announces Plan to Acquire Second Facility

Once secured, the Company intends to retrofit the New Facility with robotic automated food manufacturing lines and ghost kitchen facilities. Through the New Facility, NextGen plans to expand its operations across Canada.

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Why the future of ghost kitchens looks a lot like MrBeast Burger

While many ghost kitchens fade away, startups like actor Noah Schnapp’s new chain are following MrBeast’s recipe for success.

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Miso Robotics announces Ecolab partnership and investment

Miso Robotics – the company transforming the restaurant industry with robotics and intelligent automation – announced a new partnership and multi-million dollar investment from the world’s water, hygiene and infection prevention company, Ecolab.

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Deliverect acquires ChatFood to enable orders via social media

The deal will allow Deliverect clients to take orders directly from their Facebook and Instagram accounts.

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The Tantalizing Transformation Of Food Startups Amidst A Plateful Of Challenges

Quick look at ghost kitchens, foods halls, abd virtual brands.

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Expert Takes a Quick Look at Virtual Restaurants and Ghost Kitchens

Chowly Co-Founder & CEO Sterling Douglas has a good post on LinkedIn.

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4 restaurant industry predictions from the NRA Show

Ghost kitchens, immigration policy, managerial automation and catering could help shape the future of the industry, experts said at the National Restaurant Association Show.

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UPDATED Investment Opportunity: Leading European Ghost Kitchen Operator

Leading European ghost kitchen and virtual brand operator is looking for investors to help them grow from their current 4 locations to 50 locations in the next two years.

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Gordon Ramsey: Food Entrepreneurship is Thriving

The food industry was hit hard by the lockdowns and restrictions. But amidst all the chaos and uncertainty, something amazing began to happen: small food businesses started to pop up all over the US and UK. They started to offer delivery and pickup services, selling everything from homemade bread to gourmet meals. And let me tell you, from what I saw on social media, they looked stunning.

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The end of the pandemic has been tough on virtual brands and ghost kitchens

Burger King’s parent closing its KYLO Food Hall and layoffs at Nextbite suggest that some of the biggest ideas to come out of the pandemic are having a tough time making it on the other side.

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RIP: Chris Jarosz, 55, owner of Broderick Roadhouse and Anonimo Pizza, killed in Sacramento crash

Broderick became a handful of ghost kitchens during the pandemic. It was a Jewish deli, a cheesesteak post and a Cajun-inspired sandwich shop.

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Podcast: You can't eat online & why it takes Phoenixes instead of Unicorns

Michael Jones & Stephan M. Leuschner discuss during the latest TrendTalk by RATIONAL about the recent EuroShop – The World´s No. 1 Retail Trade Fair , findings of the 1st International #ghostkitchen conference and how to save the world in general.

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Podcast: The Feed: Analyzing the current state of restaurant tech with Stefan Hertzberg of ItsaCheckmate

In this episode, they talk about the recent M&A activity in the fragmented restaurant tech space, how operators can own their customer data on third-party delivery platforms, and the challenges facing many startups in the space.

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Podcast: Karma Kitchen co-founder on dark kitchen misconceptions

Eccie Newton, co-founder and CEO of Karma Kitchen, addresses some of the misconceptions surrounding dark kitchens, explains how the sites are “closer to a co-working space” and shares ways to minimise courier traffic in local areas.

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Podcast: Rebel Foods Global CEO and Co-Founder Jaydeep Barman:- Food Tech, Cloud Kitchen, Indian Food

Quick video interview with Jaydeep. The world's largest chain of internet restaurants powered by an operating system for building and scaling brands globally. 10 Countries, 70 Cities Globally, 450 Kitchens, 4000 Internet Restaurants.

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Podcast: How cloud kitchens are using tech to transform the Indian food industry?

In this episode, they talk to Ankush Grover, Co-founder at Rebel Foods to understand the evolving cloud kitchen industry and the role of technology in transforming the Indian food industry.

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EU: Casper Kitchens and Franklin Junction Partner Up!

Two great teams are seeing success from their partnership. Hey, did you guys meet at the International Ghost Kitchen Conference?

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MENA: Dur Hospitality moves into the cloud kitchen game

The serviced apartment arm of Dur Hospitality is moving into the world of cloud kitchens. Nuzul Shada Hospitality is teaming with local firm Matbakhi to ensure serviced apartment residents are catered for using cloud kitchen products.

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Investment Opportunity: Leading Ghost Kitchen Operator in MENA Region

Leading cloud kitchen operator in Egypt is looking for investors with whom to partner to help fund their continued growth in Egypt and Africa.

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MENA: How the UAE’s cloud kitchens tackle quality and consistency issues

Stringent regulations, quality certifications, and brand audits are keeping UAE food delivery brands in check.

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India: Roll Xpress Ventures Into Franchise Owned Company Operated Cloud Kitchen Model With A Diverse Array Of Brands

Roll xpress , the innovative and rapidly growing food tech brand known for its mouth-watering rolls, is excited to announce its expansion into the Franchise Owned Company Operated (FOCO) cloud kitchen model. This game-changing initiative aims to revolutionize the food industry by offering potential franchise investors a unique opportunity to partner with a variety of popular food brands, all under one umbrella.

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India: Speed Kitchen Bags Seed Funding Led By Inflection Point Ventures

The funds will be used for expansion and increasing the footprint pan-India and hiring a team that could accelerate the expansion.

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India: Meet the young entrepreneur who digitises Indian airports and runs a Kolkata cloud kitchen

Sharang Majumdar’s life has been a rollercoaster journey across cities, countries and diverse professional fields.

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India: Head of Dawood's Drug Empire arrested; Sold Drugs through Food Delivery Agents

Shirazi was the founder and Managing Director of Falisha Technoworld, which invested ₹30 crores in Hustlers Hospitality to operate cloud kitchen startups.

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Investment Opportunity: Leading Cloud Kitchen Operator in Southeast Asia Opens Fundraising Round

A leading cloud kitchen operator has just opened their Series A fund raising round to expand regionally in South-East Asia.

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Asia: Fruitas Holdings to acquire cloud kitchen company Fly Kitchen

The company said the acquisition will enable it to significantly expand its cloud kitchen business and “efficiently serve its customers,” as it aims to introduce its food and beverage products such as Fruitas fresh juices, Ling Nam, Soy & Bean, and Sabroso Lechon.

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Down Under: The Vegan Food Hub Launches Crowd Equity Raise to Open 40 Vegan Fast Food Joints in Australia

The Vegan Food Hub (VFH), an Australian vegan restaurant company that owns Sydney’s burger chain Soul Burger and ghost-kitchen brands Plantas Taqueria and Zaynas Lebanese, recently announced the launch of a crowd equity raise to expand its restaurant portfolio.

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