OnTrend Concepts

July 8, 2021

Peter Cook, Editor

Welcome to issue #50 of the Ghost Kitchen Digest!   Some pretty big ghost kitchen and virtual brand news this week, though not as many articles as last week (so you should be able to work through the entire newsletter!).  We also have some big news in the works.  It might be a couple of weeks before we can make any announcements, but stay tuned!  In the meantime, enjoy the newsletter!


And now, the news…

Issue #50

C3, the Fastest-Growing Global Food Tech Platform Secures New Institutional Funding for Expansion from Preeminent Global Investors

Brookfield Global Asset Management, one of the world's leading alternative asset management companies, and REEF Technology, the largest operator of mobility, logistical hubs, and neighborhood kitchens, lead the round of the $80 million investment, following initial investment from Accor Hotels and Simon Property Group. REEF Technology, funded by SoftBank, commits to carrying C3 brands in 500 of their ghost kitchens vessels across the US.

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Some Commentary on the C3 Announcements

Stefan Rusen provides some additional comments regarding C3’s investments and partnership with REEF.

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Dubai: SoftBank helps mint new unicorn as Dubai's Kitopi raises funding

$415M Deal marks one of the largest funding rounds for a Middle East technology company

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Dubai: SoftBank Leads Funding to Vault Kitopi Past $1 Billion Value

Dubai-based cloud kitchen startup Kitopi has raised $415 million from a group of investors including SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund 2, vaulting it to unicorn status.

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Can Kitopi Take on the World?

The MENA ghost kitchen company raises a big round from SoftBank and reaches a unicorn valuation. Now it sets its sights on Asia. What are its chances for success?

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Shopping-Mall Giants Back Expanded Delivery-Only ‘Ghost Kitchens’ in Food Courts

Wall Street Journal: Brookfield Asset Management, Simon Property invest in C3, which aims for 1,000 ghost kitchens by year-end.

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How Red Robin is Helping Vault Donatos Around the Country

CEO Tom Krouse joins the RB podcast “A Deeper Dive” to talk about expansion, ghost kitchens and Red Robin.

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BurgerFi ramping up growth via 3 channels

After going public in December 2020 and being named FastCasual's 2021 Brand of the Year, BurgerFi International Inc. is expanding its presence through three channels: Adding brick-and-mortar restaurants; increasing ghost kitchens; and rolling out the Fi on the Fly food truck.

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Here's Why You Should Retain Dave & Buster's Stock

Dave & Buster's Entertainment, Inc. PLAY is likely to benefit from digital efforts, kitchen optimizations and reopening initiatives. This along with transition of a new menu bodes well. However, decline in traffic and soft comps are concerns.

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Why Ghost Kitchens are Here to Stay

The door has been opened for all sorts of innovative approaches.

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Chili's New Marketing Chief On Wings, Rewards, Virtual Brands

Brinker International promoted Michael Breed to senior vice president of marketing, overseeing all of Chili's brand marketing efforts and its push to expand its emerging virtual brand business.

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Monetizing Intellectual Property Rights for Food Startups

Part 2 of this Recipe for Success series sets out various ways intellectual property rights can be monetized in the food industry.

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Stay’d offers elevated, homestyle takeout, delivery out of hotel kitchens

Stay’d, a hotel-kitchen-based operation, provides elevated, homestyle takeout and has just added a second location in St. Louis Park. The new location will serve Minneapolis and its suburbs.

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The Biscuit Bar debuts latest location in Coppell, plus a ghost kitchen concept

The chain is also adding to its carb collection, operating in a Trinity Groves-area ghost kitchen, plus opening locations in Coppell and Addison.

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Virtual Restaurants and the Ghost of California Burritos Past

Cloud kitchens allow chefs and business owners flexibility by reducing startup costs, said Blake Kaplan, a retail broker with JLL who has worked with cloud kitchens. The pandemic’s lockdown conditions have created delivery and takeout habits that may not change even with vaccines and reopening.

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Despite COVID, Why Food Delivery Platforms Continue to be Unprofitable

Food Delivery Providers focus on Contribution Margin, the profit generated from restaurants and customers minus the cost of delivery, but this formula ignores marketplace costs, the hidden costs of gig economies, and low barriers for customers and restaurants to switch providers.

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Virtual kitchens and digital dining concepts are on the rise

One interesting development in the hospitality world during COVID and one that seems poised to continue post-COVID are virtual kitchens and digital dining concepts.

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Cloud kitchens – innovative technology as the secret for growth

Cloud kitchens, also known as virtual kitchens or ghost kitchens, are premises used for preparing food with a large focus on fulfilling delivery orders, with no on-premises dining for customers and where F&B operators can have multiple brands operating within one physical location.

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The Kitchen Multiverse

Dark kitchens, cloud kitchens, ghost kitchens, virtual kitchens…. These terms have been increasingly permeating consumers’ vocabulary, industry research papers and articles in recent times. But does anyone really know the difference between each of them?

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SBA to applicants: Restaurant Revitalization Fund is closed

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has sent an email to Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) applicants informing them that the fund has closed and access to its portal is being shut down on July 14.

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Superstar UAE chef Izu Ani to launch 'Izu Burger' in Dubai and New York

Culinary expert Chef Izu Ani has shaken up Dubai's fast food scene, aiming for the top of Dubai's burger culture with the launch of Izu Burger.

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Pano Karatassos joins ghost kitchen craze with Lamb Shack

Pano Karatassos officially is on board the ghost kitchen bandwagon. The executive chef of upscale Greek dining destination Kyma launched Lamb Shack Tuesday. The delivery-only fast-casual virtual Greek restaurant’s food is being prepared in the same kitchen as Kyma in Buckhead.

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Chef Franklin Becker launches Manhattanville Market as Columbia University food hall

Manhattanville Market will be open to both Columbia University students and the general public.

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Chef Jose Garces kicking off major multi-year national expansion plans

Plans are firming up for Garces to take his Buena Onda brand national. That comes in addition to other new retail and ghost kitchen opportunities in collaboration with Louisiana-based Ballard Brands, which acquired Garces Restaurants in 2018.

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Arise, Dark Kitchen

While it's undeniable that Covid-19 was a wake-up call to takeaway owners, in reality, all the virus did was speed up operational concepts such as Dark kitchens that were set to disrupt the takeaway delivery market long before we'd even heard of Coronavirus.

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Have you heard about ghost kitchens?

Making deliveries profitable is a tough business. Ghost kitchens as run by Kitch, made possible by geodata and location technology, are one answer.

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2021 Ghost Kitchen Guide: Everything You Need To Know

The explosion of the delivery business has created a completely new type of business trying to capitalize on the boom, called “ghost kitchens.” The ghost kitchen is a modern 21st-century invention that helps restaurants expand their delivery service at an optimal cost. We’ll be taking a look at what a ghost kitchen even is and what it can mean for your business.

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Ghost Kitchens Emerge as Restaurants Innovate through the Pandemic

Pandemic challenges spurred innovation in Western Oregon's restaurants, which could explain a trend that you might notice next time you log onto a third-party delivery app like GrubHub or DoorDash.

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The New Normal: Ghost Kitchens & Curbside Ordering

Now, with labor shortages and delivery as accessible as ever the concept of ghost kitchens seem to be around for the long haul.

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The New Era Of Retail Hybridization Creates Unparalleled Opportunities

What the COVID crisis accelerated profoundly—and what I would argue demands a dramatic re-think of most brands’ strategy, performance metrics and investment plans —is what I call the hybridization of retail. And guess what? Physical stores are key to it.

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Appeal of Cloud Kitchen

Food tech has become an exciting place to in the last few years as an increasing number of players look to tap into a near-insatiable appetite for food delivery services.

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Inside the Emerging World of Home-Based Restaurants

Forget ghost kitchens. Some chefs are skirting the industry entirely to serve food out of their houses.

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Dubai: Five key components to creating a successful dark kitchen in Dubai

With a rise in dark kitchen openings in Dubai, there are few important elements to consider before launching, says Gabrielle F. Mather, CEO & Founder of leading UAE-based restaurant consultancy Restaurant Secrets Inc. Here, she shares five tips to operating a successful dark kitchen

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Turkey: Secrets to Success Include Virtual Kitchens and a Full Tech Stack

CEO and Founder of Avane Cloud Kitchens talk about what it takes to succeed.

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Brazil: Why A Marketing Company and an Influencer are Opening a Restaurant

The marketing company Adventures announces the opening of Baiburger in partnership with the influencer Gustavo Gomes (Baiano).

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India: Chowman spreads its wings to become a national name

With a shift in focus from its original market, Calcutta, it’s now ready with an expansion plan.

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India: After Wendy’s, Rebel Foods Explores More Such Tie-Ups

Having partnered with American burger chain Wendy’s, online restaurant operator Rebel Foods Pvt. is looking for more tie-ups with international food brands looking to expand through cloud kitchens in India.

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India: Cloud kitchens turn saviours for Kolkata’s locked-down foodies

“It is a good business model to follow during lockdowns as people usually stay indoors and order in. That’s why cloud kitchens emerged as a successful business vertical during this period, not just in Bengal or India but across the world,” says Sudesh Poddar, president, Hotel & Restaurant Association of Eastern India.

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