UPDATE: June 9, 2021: JustKitchen announced Tuesday it's raising roughly $20 million to help fund its expansion plans into the U.S.
The company will receive a $16 million investment from Beacon Securities Limited, which agreed to buy 11.9 million common shares of the company for $1.35 each. JustKitchen also seeks to raise an additional $4 million by selling shares to investors through a private placement.
The company will also use this funding to build more spoke kitchens in Taiwan, develop software and pursue brand acquisitions, according to a press release.
- JustKitchen, a ghost kitchen provider headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, is plotting an international expansion with ambitions to open locations in the U.S. this year, specifically targeting the West Coast, according to a press release. The company, which is also in the process of opening a location in Hong Kong, plans to enter Singapore and the Philippines in 2021. JustKitchen could potentially expand into Canada and further into Asia-Pacific in 2022.
- The company's American expansion will begin with Seattle and several California cities where it already has partners and kitchen infrastructure, according to TechCrunch.
- JustKitchen's U.S. entrance comes as several American restaurant brands, such as Saladworks, Nathan's Famous and Applebee's, look to grow via ghost kitchens and are deepening their investments in these models.
JustKitchen's expansion into the U.S. could bring a new delivery-only model to the growing ghost kitchen market. The company has been using a "hub and spoke" model in Taiwan, where it has 14 locations. JustKitchen prepares food in larger hub kitchens and then sends that food to smaller spoke kitchens for assembly and delivery. The spoke kitchens are located in areas with higher population densities and can allow for quicker deliveries.
While JustKitchen works with established restaurants, including TGI Fridays, the company is also developing its own brands and offers research and development for its partners. JustKitchen is looking to use its hub kitchens primarily as R&D locations and outsource production at its smaller kitchens to food venders and manufacturers, according to TechCrunch.
The company plans to eventually license its satellite kitchens to franchisees and focus more on software and recipes, packaging and branding, TechCrunch reports. In April, JustKitchen rolled out a customer-facing app allowing diners to order directly from the ghost kitchen instead of just through third-party delivery apps, for example.
In the U.S., JustKitchen expects to use both in-house and partner brands alongside its proprietary technology and operational expertise. Its operations would be adapted to leverage local vendors using established supply chains to bring food to customers.
The company is also planning to go public in late May on New York's OTC Markets, according to DigiTimes. It is already listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and DAX of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, all of which will expand its ability to raise capital that could better support its expansion.
Investors have been particularly interested in the ghost kitchen segment over the last 18 months. Reef Technology raised $700 million toward the end of 2020, Kitopi landed $60 million in early 2020 and All Day Kitchens secured $20 million in May.