Just in time for Halloween, Colombian food tech company Muy announced a $15 million Series B round today to expand its ghost kitchen operation to other parts of Latin America. The round was led by ALLVP with participation from previous investor Seaya and brings Muy’s total funding to $20.5 million.
Ghost kitchens — also called virtual kitchens, cloud kitchens, and other names — are shared commercial kitchens restaurants can rent out to fulfill more delivery orders and even try new concepts. The defining feature of a ghost kitchen is its complete lack of a front of house — that is, there’s no dining room, cashier, or servers, and often not even a pickup area. They’re also becoming practically mandatory for restaurants in this delivery-crazed era of food.
Muy, which also operates 20 dine-in restaurants around Colombia, uses what it calls a virtual kitchen and smart chef system to serve delivery guests, who can order and customize food bowls via the Muy mobile app. The company also says it uses AI to make internal operations at its restaurants more efficient and predict demand.
The fresh round of funding will see Muy expand the ghost kitchen portion of its concept to Mexico and Brazil to make delivery more efficient in high-density cities like São Paulo and Mexico City. This won’t be Muy founder José Calderón’s first dabble in food delivery. He co-founded Colombian company Domicilios.com, which Delivery Hero acquired in 2014.
Muy won’t be alone in trying to expand the ghost kitchen concept. In Latin America alone, Rappi, iFood, and Pedidos Ya all compete in the delivery sphere and are contending for would-be customers of ghost kitchens. Meanwhile, Uber Eats operates in dozens of cities in Latin America, and, given its recent efforts with ghost kitchens, could likely one day operate some in that region.
Elsewhere, we’ve seen plenty of news about ghost kitchens peeking out of the shadows. DoorDash announced its own facility earlier this month, Uber Eats has teamed up with Rachel Ray to offer a virtual restaurant where food is prepared in a ghost kitchen, and Fatburger is using its sister brands’ kitchens as places to fulfill more delivery orders.
All of which is to say, it looks ghost kitchen industry is about to see scary new levels of competition.