French startup Not so dark has raised an $80 million Series B funding round led by Kharis Capital and Verlinvest, in which Convivialité Ventures also participates. The startup has launched digital food delivery brands that you can find in food delivery apps.
Although Not So Dark started with a network of dark kitchens, the company abandoned this business model shortly after raising its Series A round. Operating dark kitchens requires a lot of capital and it can cause problems in some neighborhoods.
Instead, the company is betting on existing restaurants. In addition to their own menu, these partners can start cooking a variety of dishes specifically designed for food delivery platforms.
In other words, restaurants can generate additional revenue by making sure their kitchen staff is always cooking something – it could be for restaurant customers or for home customers looking for something different.
Some Not So Dark brands include Vegedal, Como Kitchen, Coquillettes, JFK Burgers, Fat Panda, Gaïa Pita and Walida. The startup designs the recipes and brings the ingredients in-house, so restaurants only have to cook and fulfill the orders.
Customers can find these restaurants on existing food delivery platforms such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats. Currently Not So Dark is active in France and Belgium in 100 cities. The startup is cutting back on revenue like a traditional restaurant franchise.
And because there are plenty of Not So Dark partners, you get all the benefits of a food franchise. Not So Dark can run advertising campaigns that benefit everyone. The startup can also optimize listings on Uber Eats and Deliveroo by adjusting prices in real time depending on competitors — something that can be time-consuming for a traditional restaurant.
Founded by Clément Benoit and Alexandre Haggai, Not So Dark currently employs 150 people. With today’s funding round, the company aims to build the world’s largest restaurant that doesn’t have a kitchen — a sort of virtual franchise.