- Kitchen United has raised $100 million in Series C funding with the help of several new investors, including Kroger, Circle K, Simon Property Group and Restaurant Brands International. Previous investors, including GV, RXR Realty, DivcoWest and former NFL player Peyton Manning, also participated.
- The ghost kitchen operator plans to expand from 15 locations to over 500 locations over the next five years using many of the malls, shopping centers and supermarkets operated by the new investors, Business Insider reports.
- This capital brings the company’s total funding to date to about $175 million. Previous funding includes $40 million co-led by RXR in 2019 and $10 million in funding from Google Ventures in 2018.
Large funding rounds are becoming rare within the restaurant technology space, as investors have pulled back following inflationary conditions and rising interest rates. Companies like Nextbite, Reef, GoPuff and ChowNow have laid off employees this year amid these conditions.
But it appears investors are still bullish on Kitchen United’s business model despite financial headwinds.
"The rising trend of off-premises dining presents a major growth opportunity for the ghost kitchen sector, and Kitchen United is uniquely positioned for significant expansion in the years ahead," David Krane, CEO and managing partner at GV, said in a statement.
Kitchen United currently operates in 20 regions with about 200 kitchens, according to the release. The company’s top line has grown in the triple digits for three years straight, it said in the release. The company will focus on expanding in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago and Texas, but will also grow in other regions. Its customers include Burger King, Popeyes, Chick-fil-A, Portillo’s, Panera Bread, Dog Haus, Wingstop and Brinker International.
The company has been opening locations through partnerships with Simon Property Group and Kroger, which opened a virtual food court in Dallas and and in-store ghost kitchen at a Ralphs in Los Angeles with Kitchen United this year. In-store kitchens allow customers to order from multiple offerings using kiosks or through Kitchen United Mix’s app. The new investment partnerships could also open up new opportunities at convenience stores. Kitchen United has continued to add to its traditional standalone locations, as well.
“We see many commercial opportunities in partnering with Kitchen United as it prepares for considerable scale,” Kevin Lewis, chief marketing officer at Circle K parent Alimentation Couche-Tard, said in a statement.