20 Disruptive Ghost Kitchen Startups (2021)

by Josh Howarth - July 13, 2021

In today’s competitive landscape, restaurants are going all-in on optimizing their costs and resources.

Delivery-only restaurants are overcoming that challenge with the ghost kitchen model, which involves using a facility (sometimes shared by multiple brands) to prepare food.

In 2019, the global ghost kitchen market size was $43.1 billion. By 2027, this industry is estimated to grow to $71.4 billion.

Furthermore, in the US alone, there are more than 1,500 ghost kitchens.

Every year, new tech startups and shared spaces are joining this sector. We’ve rounded up some of the fastest-growing ghost kitchen companies that you should follow in 2021.

1. Ikcon

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5-year search growth: 333%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2019

Location: Dubai, UAE

Funding: $25M (Series A)

What they do: Ikcon offers a network of smart shared kitchens to restaurants in prime locations in the UAE and KSA. According to their website, all of their kitchens come equipped with culinary technology and trained chefs. Ikcon has onboarded 70+ brands and has more than 15 operational kitchens.

2. Swiggy

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5-year search growth: 258%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2014

Location: Bangalore, India

Funding: $2.4B (Series J)

What they do: Primarily a food delivery company in India, Swiggy joined the ghost kitchen market a few years ago with the launch of “Swiggy Access.” It’s a separate service that offers cloud kitchens to brands, with the goal of helping them expand their customer base. So far, over 1,000 brands have been launched through Swiggy Access.

3. KEAZE

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5-year search growth: -100%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2020

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Funding: $600K (Seed)

What they do: A kitchen-as-a-service (KaaS) company, KEAZE offers smart kitchens to restaurants. They claim that their ready-to-cook, turn-key kitchens can be used to launch a brand in under a month. The startup caters to existing chains, local eateries, entrepreneurs, and even food truck owners. KEAZE is currently planning on opening its kitchens in 19 locations across the US.

4. Rebel Foods

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5-year search growth: 500%

Search growth status: Exploding

Year founded: 2011

Location: Pune, India

Funding: $342.3M (Series E)

What they do: Rebel Foods is a tech company that offers cloud kitchens to online restaurant brands. They provide entrepreneurs space, infrastructure, and technology needed to potentially launch their brands with minimal cost. Since their launch, they’ve expanded to 6 countries, created 350 shared kitchens, and onboarded over 3,000 brands.

5. Kitopi

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5-year search growth: 99X+

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2018

Location: Dubai, UAE

Funding: $504M (Series C)

What they do: A KaaS startup, Kitopi offers a managed cloud kitchen platform. Through a “smart kitchen operating system” (SKOS), they help restaurants scale by handling their operations. This involves prepping meals, packaging, and delivery. In addition, Kitopi also owns the customer experience for some of its partner brands. The startup has expanded to 5 countries and currently works with over 200 brands.

6. Ordermark

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5-year search growth: 3600%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2017

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Funding: $150.9M (Series C)

What they do: Ordermark is a California-based technology startup that offers solutions to restaurants. One of those solutions is Nextbite - a platform that curates and helps create turnkey delivery-only virtual restaurants. Nextbite has helped develop 14 brands, including celebrity brands by Wiz Khalifa and George Lopez.

7. Zomato

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5-year search growth: 78%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2008

Location: Gurgaon, India

Funding: $2.1B (Series Unknown)

What they do: Zomato is a multinational tech company offering food delivery and marketing services to restaurants. They also offer dark kitchens (another term for ghost kitchens) to partner restaurants that want to reach more customers. According to their website, a single space can accommodate 5 to 8 restaurants. Zomato currently operates over 700 kitchens in 50+ cities in India.

8. Karma Kitchen

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5-year search growth: 1600%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2018

Location: London, UK

Funding: $346.6M (Series A)

What they do: Karma Kitchen transforms commercial spaces into kitchens and storage facilities for food and beverage companies. They offer both shared and private kitchens, along with space for anchor production. Their ghost kitchens come equipped with essential equipment and services designed for smooth day-to-day operations. The company recently raised £252M (about $346.6M) in series A funding, led by Vengrove Asset Management and Omakase Investment Club.

9. Sweetheart Kitchen

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5-year search growth: 1000%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2019

Location: Dubai, UAE

Funding: $42.5M (Series C)

What they do: A network of delivery-only restaurants, Sweetheart Kitchen (bySWHK) creates its own virtual restaurant brands. The company currently operates 20 bySWHK brands, all of which run under the same facility. Unlike most traditional ghost kitchen companies, Sweetheart Kitchen doesn’t partner with external restaurants.

10. Yummy Corporation

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5-year search growth: 4500%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2019

Location: Tangerang, Indonesia

Funding: $19.8M (Series B)

What they do: Yummy Corp is a food solutions provider for restaurants, including facility management, catering, and a managed cloud kitchen platform. They provide shared spaces to F&B businesses through Yummykitchen, which is their business arm for ghost kitchens. In addition to day-to-day operations (meal prep, packaging, etc.), they can even help hire employees. So far, they’ve opened their cloud kitchens in over 55 locations across Indonesia.

11. RobinFood

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5-year search growth: 450%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2018

Location: Bogota, Columbia

Funding: $36.3M (Debt Financing)

What they do: A cloud restaurant company, RobinFood (or MUY) provides technology solutions and shared kitchen spaces to virtual restaurants. The company’s goal is to reduce waste by making food more affordable and accessible. In Latam, Brasil alone, RobinFood has over 50 cloud restaurants. Furthermore, they have 500,000+ clients.

12. Curb Food

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5-year search growth: 34%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2020

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Funding: $27.4M (Series Unknown)

What they do: Curb Food offers a delivery-first, virtual food court. They provide curated dark kitchens to their customers based on their preferences. The startup recently secured €20M (about $23.6M) in a funding round led by Point72 Ventures.

13. CloudKitchens

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5-year search growth: 1200%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2016

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Funding: $400M (Series Unknown)

What they do: CloudKitchens is a real-estate company that specializes in providing commercial ghost kitchens to delivery-only restaurants. In addition to space, partner restaurants also get logistics (delivery) and facilities services. The startup also offers a delivery management system, designed to serve as a hub where restaurants can track their sales and deliveries. It’s estimated that CloudKitchens earns up to $5M in annual revenue.

14. Saltalk

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5-year search growth: 0%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2017

Location: Santa Clara

Funding: $2.7M (Convertible Note)

What they do: Focused on authentic Asian food, Saltalk delivers curated brands and cuisines to their customers. All brands, including chefs and bakers, operate through the company’s commercial cloud kitchens. As of now, Saltalk offers its services across 5 cities in California.

15. Zesty Kitchen

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5-year search growth: -100%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2018

Location: Chanditala, India

Funding: $422.1K (Angel)

What they do: Zesty Kitchen is a cloud kitchen that specializes in providing authentic regional cuisines from India. Customers can instantly order food from an a la carte menu or pre-order specific cuisines for any occasion. Zesty Kitchen aims to set up over 1,000 kitchens by 2025.

16. Bigspoon

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5-year search growth: 340%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2019

Location: Ahmedabad, India

Funding: $2.3M (Seed)

What they do: Bigspoon is a multi-brand cloud kitchen that focuses on delivering food to tier 2 cities (those with populations ranging from 50k to 100k) in India. They also offer digital franchising opportunities to prospective partners. So far, the startup has launched 6 brands, all of which share the same kitchen, and delivers in 20 cities.

17. Hangry

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5-year search growth: 23%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2019

Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

Funding: $15M (Series A)

What they do: A multi-brand restaurant, Hangry combines the menus of various restaurants into one. From fried chicken to coffee, the restaurant delivers a wide range of products. Since its launch, Hangry has expanded to 40+ locations across Indonesia.

18. Hoi Foods

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5-year search growth: 500%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2017

Location: Gurgaon, India

Funding: $2.9 million (Seed)

What they do: Hoi Foods is a cloud kitchen that focuses on offering multi-cuisine combinations. Their customers can order from a range of well-known eateries, along with Hoi’s own virtual restaurant brands. The startup currently operates a network of over 150 cloud kitchens.

19. Kitchen Ventures

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5-year search growth: 130%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2020

Location: London, UK

Funding: $2M (Seed)

What they do: Kitchen Ventures is a cloud kitchen provider that connects customers with multiple delivery-only F&B brands in London. The startup currently has two operational kitchens in East and West London. Furthermore, they’ve onboarded 5 brands so far.

20. We Cook

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5-year search growth: 105%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: Seoul, South Korea

Funding: $18.6M (Series B)

What they do: We Cook (previously “Simple Project”) offers shared kitchen spaces to restaurants in South Korea. They also provide the expertise needed to grow your F&B brand. It’s estimated that the startup is valued from $57.9M to $86.3M.

Conclusion

And that concludes our list of the best ghost kitchen companies to keep an eye on in 2021.

These ventures are transforming the way restaurants operate, utilize their resources, and reach new customers. In that sense, not only are they beneficial from an economic perspective, but also from a sustainability point of view.

As the demand for virtual kitchens continues to grow, we can expect more startups to launch in the years to come.

Written By
Josh Howarth
Co-founder of Exploding Topics.
548 Market St. Suite 95149
San Francisco, California
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