- Home-cooked delivery service WoodSpoon has raised $14 million in funding led by Burger King parent company Restaurant Brands International. The funding will be used to accelerate growth through research and development, marketing, human capital and new markets, according to a press release.
- This is the second round of funding in less than a year for WoodSpoon, which offers home chefs a platform to deliver their meals to local consumers via an app-based marketplace. The company, which received $2 million in December shortly after its launch, had about 100 chefs on the platform at the time and now has about 16,000 active customers.
- RBI plans to learn from Woodspoon's service model and the emerging trends it encompasses to further it's "journey to be a leader in the digital restaurant space," RBI COO Josh Kobza said in the release.
Restaurant companies have been on a tech spending spree of late, including Yum Brands' recent acquisitions in Kvantum and Tictuk Technologies, Inspire Brands' investment in ItsaCheckmate and McDonald's acquisitions of Dynamic Yield and Plexure.
Absent from that list is RBI, yet this particular investment is a bit different as it doesn't seem to directly complement the company's operations or digital presence in the same way that, for example, Chipotle's partnership with autonomous delivery company Nuro could lower costs as delivery sales increase.
WoodSpoon's growth could signal opportunity, however, with 50% month-over-month growth in sales, customers, chefs onboarding and revenue, according to the release. RBI could tap into the company to learn from its marketplace and delivery infrastructure. During RBI's Q2 call last month, CEO José Cil said the company has seen digital stickiness drive check and traffic with delivery sales, adding that it has "tremendous opportunities with new formats," specifically with delivery-only and pickup. RBI could also potentially leverage WoodSpoon's deepening roster of chefs for culinary inspiration for its own menus.
Homemade delivery meals face disparate regulations depending on jurisdiction, but the market does seem to be growing as chefs advocate for the expansion of home-cooking laws. San Francisco-based Shef, another service that delivers home-cooked meals, recently received $20 million in funding, for example.
Such advocacy likely has a bigger audience now in the wake of thousands of restaurant closures, which has put many chefs out of work. The market may also be more appealing for consumers looking for diverse, delivered meals as the COVID-19 delta variant threatens dine-in business again.
This funding round could facilitate WoodSpoon's expansion into other major cities. The company is also looking to grow its team in Tel Aviv, which would set the foundation for a growing international presence.