The cloud kitchen craze has reached Latin America. Food tech startupMuy
[https://home.muy.com.co/#/]landed a fresh $15 million Series B to expand into
Mexico and soon Brazil. The service is currently operative in Colombia.
Muy is a ?cloud kitchen meets Chipotle,? says one investor. The company
describes itself as a virtual kitchen and smart chef system that uses AI to
produce food based on forecasts of demand, which can help to reduce food waste.
Muy, translated from Spanish to English as ?very,? allows users to place
personalized orders in one of Muy?s physical restaurants or through a mobile
app. Muy?s concept also exists as 20 physical dining locations offering what it
says are quick, fresh and personalized dishes. Founder Jose Calderon says Muy is
serving more than 200,000 dishes per month.
The round was led by Mexico-based investor ALLVP, with previous investor Seaya
returning. The $15 million Series B brings MUY?s total funding to $20.5 million.
Calderon is no newcomer to the takeaway experience space. He previously raised
$47.7 million for a Colombian online food ordering startup called Domicilios,
which heexited to Delivery Hero
The explosion of delivery apps has kept options competitive for customers not
only in the U.S. but across Latin America. The congested highways of S?o Paulo,
Mexico City, Bogot? and beyond are filled with motor couriers running deliveries
with Rappi, UberEATS and the like.
Calderon notes that cloud kitchens are poised to make on-demand ordering and
delivery more efficient in these high-density cities due to the long commute
times that keep the growing middle class out of their homes for extended periods
of 12 hours or more.
A MUY customer orders at one of the company?s physical locations in Colombia
Alternatives like full service restaurants can be prohibitively expensive and
time consuming, and traditional casual restaurants don?t meet quality standards.
A large part of the market, around 40%, brings a lunch to work, says Calderon.
But as disposable income increases, he predicts that more people will avoid
cooking at home and will opt for faster and higher-quality options like Muy.
Cloud kitchens ? the fully equipped, shared, commercial gradespaces for
have leftU.S. investors balking
have described these virtual spaces as?ghost kitchens?
many have noted the threat they pose to independently owned restaurants. My
colleague Danny Crichton wrote that?cloud kitchens are the WeWork for
kitchens,? [https://techcrunch.com/2019/10/17/cloud-kitchens-is-an-oxymoron/] adding that suddenly sharable kitchen space will lead to bidding wars between
these virtual food brands.
This rhetoric isn?t hindering the rise of cloud kitchens and the services that
support them from launching in the U.S. and down to Latin America. According to
Calderon, the food service market opportunity in Latin America will reach $270
billion by 2021.
The founder also notes that the Latin America market is highly fragmented; the
top 10 chains only hold around 5% of market share in comparison to countries
like the U.S. where this figure reaches 24%. ?Large players will consolidate and
win, and small ones will face pressure,? he says.
Larger incumbents have already begun to dip into the cloud kitchen opportunity.
Earlier this year,?Amazon took a$575 million bite into Deliveroo
opened its first shared kitchen in Paris in 2018. City Storage Systems, the
holding company of CloudKitchens, was backed with a$150 million controlling
[https://www.scmp.com/tech/start-ups/article/2184598/former-uber-ceo-travis-kalanick-said-plot-china-comeback-shared] from Uber founder and ex-CEO Travis Kalanick.
For better or worse, delivery apps and cloud kitchens are revolutionizing the
way we eat in the U.S., Asia and now in Latin America. The winners among the
various global delivery apps, cloud kitchens and controlling incumbents have yet
to emerge, but what we do know is that everyone needs to eat lunch.