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New $40M funding for Kitchen United to accelerate expansion, leverage RXR real estate

In deal with RXR, Kitchen United expanding to Brooklyn, Manhattan, Stamford

Kitchen United raised another $40M in a series B funding round. RXR Realty led this financing round, along with GV and Fidelity Investments Canada ULC-managed funds. In addition, existing investors and founders John Miller and Harry Tasao participated. In an interview with Restaurant C-Suite Magazine, Kitchen United suggested it was planning rapid national expansion. Its virtual kitchens have been in demand as consumers increasingly embrace restaurant food takeout and delivery options.

“We have aggressive growth goals and expect to open up to 400 locations over the next four years,” said Craig Cochrane, EVP of Marketing for Kitchen United, in an interview prior to this new funding. “We are thoughtfully and carefully scouting each market we believe will be successful for our model. We’ve announced leases in Austin, Los Angeles and Columbus, to name a few, and will be opening a second location in Chicago.” The new funding for Kitchen United should accelerate expansion.

Using data analytics, Kitchen United pinpoints where to expand in each U.S. city, according to Cochrane. The kitchen-as-a-service company had already set its sights set on New York City, in addition to Boston, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia on the East Coast. Starting with locations in the Tri-State area, the relationship with RXR Realty will grow as part of the deal. Specifically, Kitchen United executives plan expansion within Brooklyn, Manhattan and Stamford, CT., according to an emailed announcement.

Opportunities abound within virtual kitchen space

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With the availability of new funding for Kitchen United, West Coast ghost kitchen locations are also now within easy reach. Expect a presence, particularly in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Kitchen United’s virtual kitchen centers each house 10 to 15 brands, allowing the restaurant to focus on the food.

“We’re incredibly appreciative of our investors who understand the opportunity we present as a strategic real estate partner, meeting the needs of the top restaurant brands in the country as they find new ways to serve their loyal customers,” said Jim Collins, Kitchen United chief executive.

[Related article: Off-premises business heating up in the restaurant industry]

The opportunity to help restaurants leverage smaller real estate spaces for additional revenue is a value-play, not just for the technology company, but also for developers. In addition, vertically-integrated developers like RXR continue to find ways to support restaurant growth. As non-traditional uses of real estate deployed for restaurant revenue increase, this is the next real estate play.

“We are thrilled to be an early supporter of Kitchen United and look forward to working together to change how New Yorkers live, work, play, and stay,” said Scott Rechler, chairman and chief executive of RXR Realty. Also, the New York City-based developer is one of the largest owners in the city.

The &pizza chain partnered with Zume to grow and market its brand through the use of mobile kitchens, reported NRN. Zume Forward uses predictive technology to forecast demand and other advancements within the food business. &pizza chain has said it wants to double in size in just two years. Like Kitchen United, Zume is also providing virtual kitchen solutions for restaurants to tap off-premises business.

Read the interview with Kitchen United prior to the new funding round here.

Photo credit: Kitchen United

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