Virtual Kitchen, a company founded by two ex-Uber executives, has raised $20 million in new funding, according to a filing with the SEC (h/t Restaurant Dive). The round was led by Founders Fund and brings Virtual Kitchen’s total funding to $37 million.
Virtual Kitchen runs multiple “delivery-optimized kitchens” where restaurants can rent space and also take advantage of the company’s technology to scale up operations quickly. Delivery fulfillment is done through partnerships with Grubhub, Uber Eats, Postmates, DoorDash and other third-party services.
It’s unclear at this time what Virtual Kitchen will do with the new funds, though Restaurant Dive suggests the San Francisco-based company is likely to focus on expanding its network of ghost kitchens.
Now would certainly be the time to do that. As we detailed in a recent Spoon Plus report, the market for ghost kitchens is enormous — trekking towards $1 trillion by some accounts. As a business model, the ghost kitchen was already becoming an attractive option for more and more restaurants before the COVID-19 pandemic ever hit and decimated the restaurant industry. Since then, delivery and other off-premises formats have become priorities for large chains and mom-and-pop joints alike, and there’s no setting more logical for fulfilling all these to-go orders than a ghost kitchen.
Given all that, the recent activity in the ghost kitchen space shouldn’t surprise. Kitchen United continues to expand across the U.S. Kitopi raised $20 million this year. Zuul raised $9 million for its NYC-focused ghost kitchen operation, Dubai-based iKcon raised $5 million, and that’s but a smattering of the recent developments in this sector.
Virtual Kitchen’s new funding follows last year’s $15 million investment from Andreessen Horowitz and Base10 Partners.