Foodtech, between urban problems and practicality

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In 2018, investments in French FoodTech startups increased in 2018, from 136 million euros in 2017 to 227 million euros. Today, the French FoodTech ecosystem is entering a mature phase. This trend puts France at the top of the European rankings. Indeed, foodtech is a sector where French companies have the capacity to generate very good results since France brings together quality food products, agri-food giants, recognized know-how and investors and entrepreneurs ready to take up the challenge.

Ghost restaurants, a trend confirmed

Innovative companies in the food sector are growing in number and raising more and more sums. Between 2013 and 2016, the number of start-ups in the foodtech sector increased threefold. However, not all foodtech sectors have the same growth prospects. These focus mainly on AgTech, in other words, the agriculture of the future, the FoodService which reinvents catering and the Retail and Delivery that concerns food e-commerce. FoodService’s new trends include ghost restaurants. This concept came from the other side of the Atlantic, bases its business model on the lack of a physical presence, it is only possible to order on an online meal platform like Uber Eats or Deliveroo. these ghost restaurants are responding to a new demand from customers who now want to eat well at home. Since the proposed menu only exists online, ghost restaurants can also adapt faster to market trends and renew their dishes according to the desires. Inventory management is also facilitated.

Yet the market has a high rate of business failure: Take Eat Easy and Tok Tok Tok to name but a few, the viability of new catering services is not always easy to demonstrate.

Dark Kitchen continues to expand in Bordeaux

Specializing in preparing home-delivered meals, the young start-up Dark Kitchen has teamed up with Ubereats to deliver its meals. Thanks to a fundraising of nearly 1 million euros, Dark Kitchen continues its development in the South-West with the opening of two new virtual restaurants, one in Bordeaux, on Rue Mouneyra, in August. The idea of Jean Valfort and Rémi Chabanas, is to flexibilize the restaurant by creating quality dishes specially designed to be delivered. They are both experts in restaurant Jean Valfort with the Group Farago, a contemporary Parisian tapas concept and Rémi Chabanas with Uber Eats. Their added value lies in the concept of a “ghost restaurant”. The recipe for a quality restaurant is preserved but logistics and distribution are entrusted to a platform such as UberEats. Many savings are made on fixed costs, thanks to the lack of space, especially in the major metropolises, where the price of land continues to rise.
Dark Kitchen brings together all the strengths of foodtech because to promote its regional development, Dark Kitchen relies on an algorithm that identifies geolocated consumption habits to meet the precise expectations of the territory.

Dark Kitchen also favours a comprehensive approach to the catering menu offered to customers since it has several brands: one dedicated to the rotisserie, another to tacos, and others to foreign food notably Italian and Thai. This approach is relevant because the market for ghost restaurants is before a competition of brands, understood in the sense of culinary brands. l This competition is therefore based above all on the exclusivity of a particular restaurant, the products offered, and the gastronomic influencers who will impose the new food trends. By carrying out this strategy, ghost restaurants become much more than just intermediaries between restaurants and consumers; They embody culinary benchmarks, trend-throwers and even vectors of well-being. So the delivery role, that is, logistics, comes to the fore. It simply requires a standardization of the concept by ensuring a short delivery time, 10 minutes in the case of Dark Kitchen.

The trend of ghost restaurants alone meets the expectations of a new clientele younger and less attached to the institution embodied by the physical restaurant. This clientele wants a delivery of dishes from any quality culinary horizon. A big asset, these foodtech start-ups offer concepts that are easily deployable, whereas restaurants and food are not business models that can be easily declined. It’s enough to portend a disruptive world… without a kitchen.

Justine ANGIBAUD

Sources:

DigitalFood Lab study

Dark Kitch Press File

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