Driving Round In Circles: Dark Kitchens Turn Into Takeouts As Fast Food Eats Itself
First there was the restaurant. You sat down and ate.
Next came the takeaway, where you walked in and took food home to eat, and the dark kitchen, allowing you to sit at home while food came to you.
Now, as the takeaway and restaurant cycle of life comes full circle, an expanding dark kitchen business is inviting customers to drop in and collect food because it’s nice to stay in touch.
Ambitious Belgian dark kitchen business Casper has decided it needs appealing shopfronts and open doors on main streets, standing recent takeout food logic on its head.
Unlike other ghost kitchens, Casper aims to be visible. There are no shuttered windows in a back street. Instead, it offers clear and recognizable branding, technology to place walk-in orders and waiting areas for the delivery riders.
Casper raised €5M in a Series A round led by Amsterdam-based Slingshot Ventures in April, together with three serial entrepreneurs, and its aim is to open new locations in the Benelux nations and France. By 2024, it hopes to have 50 international locations.
The move comes as mainstream investors develop an appetite for dark kitchens. Last year, LondonMetric bought two London warehouses in a £13.5M deal, with the aim of deploying them for up to 100 dark kitchens. A 20-year lease was signed with Jacuna Kitchens, and just yesterday, React News reported the REIT has doubled down on its dark kitchen investments as it cooks up a new alternative investment niche.