Ghost kitchen company, Zuul, announced today that it has secured $9 million in funding to expand its ghost kitchen operation across New York City. The company, which currently services downtown Manhattan will use the new money to begin operations across New York’s five boroughs.
Ghost kitchens (aka: dark kitchens, aka: cloud kitchens) are facilities that restaurants and other food brands can rent for delivery-only operations. Earlier this month, Euromonitor report predicted ghost kitchens could become a $1 trillion market by 2030.
A lot of that ghost growth is courtesy of the global COVID pandemic, which has forced the closure of many dine-in options for restaurants. As my colleague, Jenn Marston, who just published a premium report on ghost kitchens, wrote:
Much of the ghost kitchens’ rising popularity can be attributed to the rapid rise of the food delivery segment, which has been happening for some time now. Even more recent, though, are the economic fallout and changing consumer behaviors brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Put together, all these elements have accelerated the adoption of ghost kitchens much faster than what the industry expected even eight months ago.
This appears to be Zuul’s first round of funding, though the press release did not provide many details such as investors or how the $9 million is structured. This is, however, the latest move by Zuul, which acquired OnTray’s ordering technology in January, and partnered with Figure 8 to form a ghost kitchen consultancy in May of this year.
The company will need to bulk up its warchest, however, as there is plenty of competition in the ghost kitchen space including Kitchen United ($50 million raised), and CloudKitchens ($400 million raised), not to mention delivery companies like DoorDash getting into the ghost kitchen game.
Zuul is definitely striking while the ghost kitchen market is hot, now can it solidify its lead in NYC?