Virtual food hall Local Kitchens has raised $25 million in Series A funding roughly one year after launching. The round was led by General Catalyst with participation from existing investors Human Capital and Pear VC. New investors Fifth Wall and Penny Jar Capital also participated. Local Kitchens says this round brings its total funding to $28 million.
The San Francisco Bay Area-based company was founded by three ex-DoorDash employees in the summer of 2020. There are currently four Local Kitchens locations, all of which are in California: Cupertino, Menlo Park, San Jose, and Lafayette.
These facilities function as combination ghost kitchen/virtual food halls. Orders from all participating restaurant concepts are cooked under one roof, while customers can order via the Local Kitchens website or onsite at a self-service kiosk.
One notable feature of Local Kitchens is its ability to offer customers mix-and-match functionality when ordering digitally. In other words, customers can order from multiple different restaurant concepts and bundle them into a single transaction, rather than having to create a separate transaction for each restaurant. Kitchen United uses a similar approach for its ghost kitchens, as does Crave Collective, C3, and the newly opened Helbiz Kitchens.
“Bundling” virtual restaurant concepts together is one of those technological functions that looks simple on the surface but is rather a complicated execution on the back end. Speaking recently with The Spoon, Kitchen United’s Atul Sood explained that this idea is time consuming and expensive from a development perspective, and suggested that we may see more third-party restaurant tech in the future that helps ghost kitchen facilities integrate this feature.
For Local Kitchens right now, customers can only order meals for pickup, though the company says delivery is “coming soon.” It is yet unclear who will delivery the food: a third-party service like DoorDash or an in-house operation. Up to now, the default delivery method has been third-party services. Lately, though, more ghost kitchen facilities have started using their own fleets, and Local Kitchens currently has an open position for Delivery Driver on its jobs website.
The company says the new funding will allow it to build out more locations in California and eventually expand beyond its home state.