There has been a lot going on in the home delivery space. For example, Europe’s overbuilt ghost warehouse/grocery delivery space is overbuilt and poised for consolidation.
As we wrote last week, the ride-hailing service Bolt has raised a large round to fund the expansion of its European grocery delivery business. This development coincided with news that two U.S. delivery players, DoorDash and Gopuff, were about to either invest in or acquire European counterparts. DoorDash is eyeing Germany’s Gorillas. While Gopuff is reported poised to buy the UK’s Dija.
So all this activity provides a little context for what we read in FT’s Sifted (a publication that is very on top of this space). The article details how Travis Kalanick’s CloudKitchens has been buying its way into a strong position in Europe’s virtual dining space.
Secret Trail of Ghost Kitchens
Siftlane’s impressive reporting uncovered how Kalanick used shell limited liability companies to acquire ghost kitchen properties. The report tracked down one such kitchen on the Paris outskirts. The ghost kitchen was located at the same address as one of the 10 businesses Sifted uncovered that list Kalanick as an “indirect beneficial majority owner.”
This location, in turn, led to a French ghost kitchen company called Cooklane, which Kalanick appears to own.
Kalanick left Uber in 2017. And now he seems to be quietly building a ghost kitchen real estate empire in France. Just as he has done in the United States. A $400 million investment from the Saudi Arabian Sovereign Wealth Fund had aided Kalanick’s effort.
We’ve reported in the past that CloudKitchens is above all a real estate business. And the approach appears to be similar in Europe.
The European ghost kitchen market is almost as competitive as its ghost warehouse space, which we wrote about last week. Among the top players competing in Europe include Deliveroo, Karma Kitchen, and Curb, among others.
Siftlane found the most evidence of Kalanick’s presence in France. However, the publication also found documents connecting Kalanick to ghost kitchen operations in Spain, Italy, and Germany.
Kalanick’s European ghost kitchen adventures date back to 2018. That’s when CloudKitchens’ parent company acquired UK-based Foodstars. That company at the time operated more than 100 ghost around London.