Crave Hospitality Group closed of a $7.3 million seed funding round led by StageDotO, a venture capital for its delivery and carryout model. Other contributors include Meridian, ID-based investment firm and real estate developer Capital Eleven and undisclosed individual investors.
Crave plans to use the funding to build pre-opening teams for the next four Crave Collective facilities opening in 2021, followed by 10 more in 2022. Locations include Salt Lake City and Provo, Utah; the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex; Mesa and Chandler, AZ; and Denver, CO.
Demand for Delivery
As restaurants face the realities of doing business during the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re increasingly leaning in to off-premises. The ghost kitchen has emerged as one of the restaurant industry’s fastest growing trends. Ghost kitchens are projected to reach a $1 trillion global market by 2030, according to Euromonitor research, making them an attractive concept for operators now and in the future.
“We are excited to scale this concept across the country,” says Mike Self, General Partner of StageDotO Ventures. “Consumer demand for restaurant delivery has been rapidly growing for the past five years with the pandemic only accelerating this trend and expanding the customer base. Crave has brought together a collection of top chefs and restaurateurs on one platform to provide an elevated experience that is well-beyond that of third-party delivery companies. The result brings the restaurant dining experience into your living room like never before.”
Founded by tech entrepreneur Devin Wade, industry veteran Chef Scott Howard, and Boise restaurateur Barry Werner, Crave Hospitality Group opened its first Crave Collective in Boise in November. Crave features a high-profile slate of restaurant partners led by four concepts from award-winning chef and restaurateur Michael Mina including Mac ‘n Cue by International Smoke, his popular collaboration with celebrity entrepreneur Ayesha Curry. Other concepts include Mérité Bakeshop by Lincoln Carson, this year’s James Beard Award nominee for Outstanding Pastry Chef, and Tony G’s by Tony Gemignani, 13-time World Pizza Champion and two-time Food Network gold medalist. Nearly all of its restaurant partners will grow with Crave as it opens new locations.
Proprietary Tech + In-House Delivery
“We are a hospitality-focused company powered by a proprietary technology suite, order bundling across our multiple restaurant partners, and a dedicated fleet of employee-drivers who power the customer experience much the same way a waiter or waitress would do in a restaurant,” says Crave Co-Founder Devin Wade. “This allows us to meet the exacting standards of our restaurant partners, build customer relationships for them, and create operating efficiencies across the board - all of which are important for profitability. The consumer reaction, evidenced by higher order values and repeat order volume, has certainly exceeded our expectations.”