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£15m funding for firm aiming to build largest kitchen network in the UK

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A company that specialises in creating delivery-only food brands has secured £15m in series A funding – with pub group Stonegate purchasing a minority stake in the business.

Peckwater Brands, which had earlier completed a £3m seed round, will use the cash to develop technology that enables kitchen operators to succeed at delivery – including machine learning-generated menus and operations performance improvements.

The company was founded four years ago and uses data-led customer insight to create virtual brands for restaurants up and down the country.

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Orders are cooked and delivered from existing kitchens alongside their day-to-day operations. The business operates a mix of licensed brands spanning several categories including chicken (Seoul Chikin, Flip the Bird, Wham Bam Wings, Katsu) and burgers (Dukes, Proper Tasty).

It has also run shared brands with partners such as Unilever, Buzzfeed and Heinz.

It emerged that pub operator Stonegate has bought a minority stake in the business for an undisclosed sum, having trialled Peckwater Brands in some of its pubs.

Suzanne Baker, commercial director of Stonegate Group, explained: “Peckwater Brands’ partnership with some of our pubs has demonstrated the company’s exciting potential. As such, we were delighted to collaborate with them, participate in their latest funding round and offer support to this promising team. We look forward to working closely with Peckwater Brands in the coming years to ensure the company’s continued success.”

Investors in the latest round also include SoftBank Investments (SBI), as well as follow-on investment from Peckwater’s previous backers Fuel Ventures and Pembroke VCT.

Peckwater intends to use its investment to accelerate its expansion, with its UK team aiming to take the company from operating in 150-plus sites to being the largest kitchen network in the UK.

It is also planning to “level up” its international operations. This will involve the development of its US division, which was launched in Miami in early 2022, and expanding further into Europe, with confirmed sites in France and Belgium due to open in the coming months.

As part of the investment, co-founder Sam Martin will now become CEO, with co-founder Leo Bradshaw taking up the position of executive chair.

Mr Bradshaw said: “The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need for disruption within the hospitality sector. And Peckwater Brands has done just that. Our innovative use of technology, combined with our expert knowledge of brand management and hospitality has transformed the way restaurants, bars – essentially any venue with a kitchen – approaches branding and customer reach.

“Our success speaks for itself. From enabling our partners to greatly improve their operations and monthly turnover, to transforming the way the hospitality sector considers franchises, we have demonstrated the true potential of virtual brands. This latest investment will enable us to build upon our existing efforts and accelerate our expansion.”

OPINION: The dark side of dark kitchens – how hospitality is dealing with delivery

Tags : deliveryPeckwater Brandsvirtual brands
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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