Kitchen United is beefing up its service with a $100 million raise.
The company announced Monday that the Pasadena-based ghost kitchen company brought in the cash in a Series C funding round. The new funds bring Kitchen United’s overall financing to $175 million. New investors Kroger, Circle K, Simon Property Group, Phillips Edison, B. Riley Venture Capital, HAVI Group and Burger King owner Restaurant Brands International joined previous investors and former NFL star Peyton Manning to complete the round.
Kitchen United CEO Michael Montagano told Business Insider that the money will go towards increasing the company’s physical locations from 15 to 500 over the next five years. Previously, the company opened new locations through partnerships with investors Kroger and Simon Property Group.
Founded in 2017, Kitchen United is focused primarily on operating its 200 kitchens across California, New York, Illinois, and Texas. The company was an early entry in the booming ghost kitchen trend, which uses kitchens to prepare delivery-only meals. The pandemic boosted the business model’s popularity—and famed restaurateur Guy Fieri has stated that ghost kitchens are here to stay.
But the concept is changing, with many startups expanding beyond simply renting out locations. FooDoo is utilizing ghost kitchens to stock its microstores across Los Angeles. In 2019, Canter Deli’s Alex Canter launched NextBite, which partners restaurants with ghost kitchen brands to complete orders. Kitchen United, in particular, has repurposed mall food courts to allow shoppers to buy from multiple restaurants in one transaction.
Not all restaurant tech companies are thriving, with NextBite, for example, forced into downsizing in response to “changing markets.” Kitchen United’s sizable raise comes as some startup funding is drying up in the face of worsening economic conditions.
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