Vancouver, Canada-headquartered JustKitchen announced this week it is in the process of raising $20 million to expand its network of ghost kitchens and virtual restaurant brands. The company said it is getting $16 million from Canadian investment dealerr Beacon Securities Limited, which will buy 11.9 million shares of JustKitchen at $1.35 per share. JustKitchen is also looking to raise an additional $4 million.
The company has a number of plans for this new funding, including international expansion, more software development, and some brand acquisition, too.
JustKitchen operates what it calls “hub-and-spoke” commercial kitchens. Ingredients are prepped in a central main kitchen (the “hub”) and sent to smaller “spoke” kitchens located strategically close to customers. Once a user places an order via the JustKitchens app or website, the spoke kitchen closest to that person completes the order and a delivery service shuttles the meal to its final destination.
This version of the hub-and-spoke model isn’t widely used at the moment, with most ghost kitchen providers operating traditional commissaries a la Kitchen United or restaurants utilizing space on their own properties. However, the definition of “ghost kitchen” no longer just applies to restaurant food. Another Canadian company, just called Ghost Kitchen, is a good example of this: Ghost Kitchen sells some easy-to-assemble restaurant food, but it also sells pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and packages of Beyond burgers. These simpler types of orders that require minimal prep lend themselves to smaller, spoke-like kitchens closer to customers and powered by a main central kitchen.
In addition to working with third-party restaurant partners, JustKitchen also operates a portfolio of in-house delivery-only restaurants. The company also offers a delivery-only grocery service called JustMarket. Users can add grocery items onto their restaurant meal orders or simply get groceries delivered directly.
Though based in Vancouver, the company currently only operates its services in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Part of the new funding will go towards opening new spoke kitchens in Taiwan. There are also plans to expand into the western half of the U.S. and into other Asian countries later this year, including Singapore and the Philippines. In the U.S., JustKitchen will begin in Seattle, Washington and several cities in California.