OnTrend Concepts

June 22, 2023

Peter Cook, Editor

Wow.  This is a content-rich newsletter!  Plenty of deals, news, announcements, and analysis.  Grab a cup of coffee, close the door, eliminate distractions, and give yourself a solid hour to reading the great articles, posts and podcasts to which we link in this Ghost Kitchen Digest.


While there is plenty of bad news for the industry (Grubhub, Virtual Dining Concepts, Nextbite, Ordermark, etc.) and rumors of some larger ghost kitchen operators not paying some bills, there are also some very positive articles and developments and some fantastic analysis and insights.


And a lot of the people mentioned in the news this week will be speaking at (or attending) the Ghost Kitchen Conference in Houston in a couple of weeks!  The speaker lineup is impressive (and not the same ole speakers you see at every other show!).  You still have plenty of time to register!  The registration fee is only $395 right now, and that also includes admittance to the Texas Restaurant Show and their huge tradeshow floor and 6,000+ anticipated attendees.  It is going to be a great weekend in Houston.  I hope we see you there!


And now, the news…

Issue #145

HUNGRY Raises $10M to Expand their Catering Solution

Catering tech startup HUNGRY closes $10m Series C1. Existing investors Sands Capital Ventures, Motley Fool Ventures and others participated along with several athletes and chefs.

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NYC-Based Ghost Kitchen Concept Opens Seed Round to Fund Expansion

The founders bring a mix of technology and restaurant experience and have scaled throughout NYC quickly in the last 18 months, serving a hugely popular and unorganized culinary vertical.

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Nextbite acquired by SBE Hospitality Group CEO Sam Nazarian

SBE’s virtual restaurant platform C3 was formerly a competitor of Nextbite and will now be its sister company just days after Ordermark was sold off to UrbanPiper

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How Do I Sign Up for the Ghost Kitchen Conference?

You will need to sign up for the Texas Restaurant Show and then “add on” the Ghost Kitchen Conference registration.

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Coho Collective Kitchens Inc. Announces Offering of Units for Gross Proceeds of up to $6,000,000

The 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 a brokered private placement of up to 27,272,727 units of the Company at a price of $0.22 per Unit.

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Ordermark U.S. business sold to Indian software company

Following the third round of Nextbite layoffs, the virtual restaurant company’s online order management platform, Ordermark, will be sold to global SaaS platform UrbanPiper.

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Cooking up extraordinary growth for restaurants during a downturn

These growth-boosting strategies can help restaurant businesses outperform during a uniquely challenging moment.

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The Making of Chipotle's Fresh-Forward Ghost Kitchen

Like many others, the fast-casual giant is learning how to unlock the true benefits of a virtual brand.

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Domino’s launches ‘anywhere’ pizza delivery in U.S. for the first time

Domino’s announced Pinpoint Delivery for hyper-specific pizza delivery locations without an address like parks and beaches.

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New Online Forum for Delivery Kitchen Operators!

This free forum will give a place for operators from all over the world to share best practices, ask questions of their peers, and build a strong community of those striving for the same goals.

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Costa Vida Appoints Wade Allen as EVP of Strategic Growth

His primary focus will be on expanding Costa Vida's off-premise presence, optimizing digital channels, improving the technology infrastructure, and enhancing the overall marketing strategy.

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Wall Street’s Newest Darling Is an Unprofitable Mediterranean Chain That Sells Bowls of Stuff

It may seem odd that the 2023 IPO that holds the most promise for other budding companies belongs to a fast-casual, custom-bowl, upscale-ish Mediterranean restaurant: Cava.

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MrBeast Explains 'Problem' With Beast Burger Venture

YouTube personality MrBeast seems to regret launching MrBeast Burger and listed quality control as the business' main problem.

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Nextbite’s failures are a warning for the entire virtual restaurant industry

Do Nextbite’s layoffs and subsequent sale to its competitor signal a death knell for the virtual restaurant industry?

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Ghost Kitchens, are they dying or on the precipice of greatness?!

Recent news from Nextbite and MrBeast Burger plus the culling of 1,000s of dormant brands on Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub indicates that the concept of Ghost Kitchens are in trouble. While some might be bearish, this guy is bullish.

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Grubhub to Lay Off About 15% of Staff

Food-delivery company to cut around 400 jobs; CEO Howard Migdal says move is needed to stay competitive.

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Deciphering the Delivery Dilemma

18% of past month delivery users report "It's not worth it anymore" - that is a VERY BIG number! Find out what's really going on with delivery.

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Food delivery apps are getting lost in transit

The pandemic boom encouraged unrealistic expansion and investors now want profits.

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Podcast: Digitally Native Restaurants May Be The Future

In this episode of the Choppin’ It Up podcast, Carl Orsbourn sits down with BI’s senior restaurant and foodservice analyst Michael Halen to discuss dynamic pricing as well as the importance of using data and converting customers to first-party from third. He also comments on the growing pains currently experienced by ghost kitchens and virtual brands.

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Podcast: GrubHub: Bedroom Start Up To Billion Dollar Category King with Mike Evans, Grubhub Founder & Author of Hangry

On this episode they go through Mike Evans’ journey, from the spark of the idea to managing a successful startup and beyond.

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Podcast: Empowering the next generation of culinary influencers with Kristen Barnett & Trevor Kerin of Culinary Creators Worldwide

In this episode they chat about the opportunity for influencers to work with brands, ghost kitchens, and tech firms to create tangible consumer experiences, the potential for grocers and restauranteurs to tap into such talent, and the key to successful partnerships in the space.

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Podcast: The Digital Restaurant

Meredith Sandland and Carl Orsbourn do another fantastic job of breaking down the latest industry news.

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Layoffs, Closures, Acquisitions - but we're still bullish!

This post provides links to all the news mentioned in this week’s The Digital Restaurant Podcast. This is a great resource.

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EU: Uber to stop food delivery service in Italy

The move is expected to impact 50 Uber employees and thousands of non-employee couriers and restaurants in Italy.

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India: Report: Delivery apps contribute one-third of eateries' income

A recent report by JM Financial surveyed more than 135 restaurants across the top 10 cities and found that over 85 percent of them have higher online menu prices compared with dine-in menu prices in order to recoup high aggregator commissions and discounts.

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India: Delhi govt aims to 'revolutionise' food industry with 'Cloud Kitchen Policy'

The policy aims to streamline licensing procedures for cloud kitchens by implementing a user-friendly single-window system through a digital platform. The initiative is designed to support independent food outlets and foster the creation of numerous employment opportunities within the sector.

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Turkey: Paket Mutfak Raises $1.5M in Investment

A leading Turkish food-tech start-up that develops delivery-focused food brands and operates ghost kitchens, on its new USD 1.5 million seed investment round.

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Taking Delivery to the Next Level

Fun video of a guy delivering a huge stack of pizzas on his hoverboard.

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Our newsletters are a collection of all the news from the previous week related to each digest topic.  The focus is on trends, deal announcements, technology, and other industry disruptors and innovations.

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