The pandemic resulted in the sweeping adoption of technologies within the restaurant industry as delivery and touchless solutions came to the forefront. Ghost kitchens also rose to prominence allowing restauranteurs to build capacity to support customers without significant capital expenditures and while making minimal labor investments. Kitchen United is an operator of multi-brand ghost kitchens in a number of cities throughout the US. By leveraging technology to streamline logistics, operations, branding, and ordering, the Pasadena-based company partners with restaurant brands to offer at least 10 different cuisine options for takeout or delivery at each of its food halls. Consumers can mix and match to order from any of the options in one single order with one bill, ensuring that a variety of taste palates will be satiated. Currently operating 15 locations in cities like LA, NYC, Scottsdale, and Austin, Kitchen United plans to expand to 500 locations nationwide, in various formats, within the next five years. Restaurant brands that are partnered with the company include White Castle, Jersey Mikes, Panera Bread, The Halal Guys, Grimaldis, and Han Dynasty. While most ghost kitchens operate covertly behind the scenes, Kitchen United’s hub locations called Mix are found in high-traffic neighborhoods with recognizable and prominent locations. LA TechWatch caught up with Kitchen United Chief Business Officer Atul Sood to learn more about the business, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding, and much, much more…
Luxury spending surged during the pandemic with lockdowns decreasing travel and dining. Discretionary income was funneled over to luxury jewelry, fashion, and automobiles. Last Crumb is a direct-to-consumer, luxury, premium cookie brand looking to capture some of that disposable income with its unique offering. Borrowing elements from the sneaker industry like drops and relative scarcity, the company offers a core collection of twelve cookies that offers flavors like The Madonna (peanut butter), Netflix and Crunch (cinnamon, graham cracker, cinnamon filling), and Donkey Kong (pudding, marshmallows, white chocolate, vanilla wafer). Drops happen every week and are relayed through text and email with pricing starting at $12/cookie. Last Crumb ships nationwide and cookies are guaranteed to be fresh for two weeks without the need to freeze. LA TechWatch caught up with Last Crumb CEO and Cofounder Matthew Jung to learn more about the business, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding, and much, much more…
The gig economy has soared during the pandemic, with lockdowns ushering in a new era of flexible income generation opportunities. Home cooks are now able to leverage technology to earn income by preparing and selling home-cooked meals. DishDivvy is a marketplace that connects these home chefs to local customers. Each chef on the platform is vetted before they are able to join the platform and cooks are charged 15% of each order, with rolling payouts. Customers can order through the app for pick up or delivery. Now live throughout California, the marketplace is expanding to Austin, Chicago, Charlotte, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. LA TechWatch caught up with DishDivvy CEO and Cofounder Ani Torosyan to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the company’s strategic plans, and recent round of funding led by 10X Venture Partners.
The pandemic forced restaurants to accelerate their digital adoption in order to be accessible to consumers during lockdowns. It was no longer enough to have a simple menu offering on a website along with a few photos; restaurants needed to develop e-commerce like options and quickly. As restaurants increased these platform-based capabilities, investment in the space flourished as did innovation for food discovery. Mustard, a new entrant, is a video-based food app that makes uploaded food videos instantly shoppable. With increasing attention paid to social when it comes to food, Mustard’s video network and social community of food enthusiasts has provided a much-needed platform that lets you visualize each individual dish to get a real sense of what you’ll be ordering. Integrations with the major food delivery services (Postmates, Uber Eats, Grubhub, et al) allow for seamless one-click ordering. The company partners with key food creators and allows them to syndicate their video content from TikTok and Instagram seamlessly to the Mustard app and collect affiliate fees. LA TechWatch caught up with Mustard Cofounder and CEO Diana Might to learn more about the inspiration for the company, strategic plans, and recent round of funding from investors that include Operate Studio, Newfund, The Fund VC, and the Great North Ventures Capital.
8 out of 10 cups of coffee are consumed at home. 27% of American coffee drinkers have used a single-service coffee brewing machine in the past year. The diversity of choice and enhanced taste profiles coupled with the efficiency of these systems are responsible for the single pod coffee segment becoming the leading segment in terms of dollar amount spent annually as a part of the overall coffee market. Bruvi is a next-generation single-serve coffee system that offers tastier coffee along with environmentally friendly pods. The system can brew filter coffee, espressos, Americanos, ice coffees, infused coffee, and tea. For the pods, Bruvi offers sustainably sourced coffees as well as choices from Los Angeles’ most prominent roasters. LA TechWatch caught up with Bruvi Cofounder Mel Elias to learn more about the single-serve coffee market, the company’s strategic plans including national expansion, latest round of funding from investors that include The Merchant Club, Terpsi Capital, 9Yards Capital, Cambridge Companies SPG, Miroma Ventures, and M1.
The old adage is “you are what you eat”. But also important is how what you eat, affects your body. The human gastrointestinal tract contains trillions of bacteria and there is growing interest in understanding how the microbiome impacts health. BelliWelli is a snack brand that’s launching this month and is focused on gut-friendly, plant-based bars. The company’s products are all gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, contain probiotics, and are also low-FODMAP – a short-chain carb that is not easily absorbed by the body. Currently available in four flavors – Minty Chocolate, Cinnamon Swirl, Lemon White Chocolate, Fudge Brownie, BelliWeather bars are available for pre-order from the website with a box of 8 costing $26.96. LA TechWatch caught up with CEO Katie Wilson to learn more about how her own personal journey to find snacks that her body could tolerate led to the founding of the company, the company’s future plans, and recent round of funding.
Ordermark has become one of the fastest-growing online ordering management platforms, helping restaurants – whether small and local or large chains – manage incoming orders from all the different online ordering platforms into a single easy-to-manage dashboard. The company operates Nextbite, a virtual kitchen marketplace enabling turnkey, delivery-only restaurant brands to launch with key infrastructure in place. LA TechWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Alex Canter to learn more about Ordermark’s evolution from a solution originally conceived to meet the needs of his family’s deli into a robust nationwide restaurant management solution powering thousands of restaurants, the company’s experience supporting the restaurant industry through the pandemic to support their operations, the rise of virtual kitchens, and the company’s latest funding round from investors that include Softbank Vision Fund 2 and Act One Ventures, bringing the total funding raised to $150.6M for the three-year-old company.
Witnessing the stress and worry severe food allergies caused young children and their parents, Daniel Zakowski founded Ready, Set, Food! a daily supplement that protects infants from developing peanut, egg, and milk allergies. The company just closed $3M in funding from Danone Manifesto Ventures, Mark Cuban, AF Ventures (formerly AccelFoods), and other investors. Zakowski shares more about how the company is making food allergies preventable, the company’s giving partnership with Cuban, and much more…
Doting pet parents are increasingly becoming the norm and this year alone spending in the pet care industry is estimated to exceed $75B. Pet owners want the best for their pets and Jinx is the DTC pet wellness brand that wants your dog to be eating a balanced and wholesome diet. All of Jinx’s kibble is […]
Smartphone, delivery apps have drastically impacted the restaurant industry; according to a survey of 1,500 consumers, 44% of people ages 18-34 are ordering delivery. If restaurants want to maximize profits from delivery, they have to be accessible on every delivery app, which often translates to chaos in the kitchen. Ordermark is the online ordering management […]
Researchers estimate that 32M Americans have some form of food allergy and within this segment, approximately 17.5% are under the age of 18. With the number of people with allergies on the rise, there has been a surge of interest to understand the science of food allergy prevention and early detection. One of the best […]