- Ghost kitchen platform Reef Technology bought logistics partner Bond, a New York-based startup that offers e-commerce brands delivery and distribution center services, the company said on Wednesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- The companies teamed up last year to add Bond's refrigerated, last-mile-delivery "nano warehouses" — where Bond's team of delivery couriers collect orders before transporting them — to Reef's network of parking lots. In July 2020, Bond was operating in two Reef lots in New York and one in Philadelphia with plans to expand to Reef locations in San Francisco, Miami and Washington, D.C., later that year, the company said.
- The acquisition comes two days after Kitchen United purchased fellow ghost kitchen operator Zuul and after All Day Kitchens raised $65 million in funding, signaling growing brand and investor confidence in the segment.
This deal reflects increased interest in hyperlocal delivery networks, which allow consumers to receive their orders more quickly. In the food space, however, grocery has been more involved in the development of small urban fulfillment centers than restaurant ghost kitchens.
Bond can quickly scale its delivery network thanks to the small size of its distribution centers, which are actually trailers outfitted with shelving. Bond uses diner data to pinpoint which Reef parking lot locations would best support its existing customers, and can then set up a warehouse trailer in that lot and begin making deliveries in just two days, Business Insider reports.
This model will give new parent company Reef much more flexibility than the average ghost kitchen platform, which typically rely on large warehouses rather than small, scattered fulfillment centers to service urban markets.
Michael Beacham, president of Reef's kitchen division, said the deal would be mutually beneficial for Reef and Bond.
"Anytime we do an acquisition, it has to be one plus one equals three," Beacham said.
Beacham did not say if Bond's marketing would be folded into Reef's existing branding, but he said Bond's leadership will continue to work within Reef's structure.
"We won't fold up shop on the good work they've already done," Beacham said. "They will take leadership roles within Reef, and their team members who are leaders will also be integrated."
According to Beacham, strategic acquisitions will be part of Reef's strategy going forward.
"We are growing globally," Beacham said. "A lot of times your best strategy is to look at companies that you will either acquire or joint venture with to enter into a market with that local knowledge and local talent."
Reef Technology operates several thousand parking lots, and its kitchen division operates about 450 ghost kitchens in major urban centers, mostly in the United States and Canada. Reef recently signed two major deals, one with Wendy's to open 700 ghost kitchens by 2025, and a second with 800 Degrees Pizza to open 500 ghost kitchens.
Bond raised $15 million in funding in January after launching in 2019.