Smartkitchen investment from Groupe BMF

The dark kitchen operator aims to invest €20 million over the next year

In contrast to "dark kitchens", Smartkitchen is positioning itself on the delivery market as a digital standard-bearer for existing physical restaurants. Currently running 4 kitchens - in Paris, Boulogne-Billancourt, Levallois-Perret and Lille - Smartkitchen intends to rapidly expand throughout France.

This financing should enable the group to step up its expansion in France and reach 14 kitchens in Paris and the regions by the end of 2021 - including Bordeaux, Nantes, Lyon, Strasbourg, Nice and Montpellier.

In the home delivery market, where "dark kitchen" ventures are jockeying for position, many entrepreneurs are creating 100% digital brands from scratch to develop them exclusively for delivery. The founders of SmarKitchen have chosen a different path along the same lines as some American players. The group designs customised kitchens, incorporates its partner brands and operates its entire catalogue with its own teams, while scrupulously respecting the specifications of each restaurant owner. SmartKitchen is becoming a full-scale development partner, presenting itself as a "digital launch pad".

This latest project is a natural transition for Adrien de Schompré and Gwénaël Robert. They worked together for 5 years at Sushi Shop (respectively as CEO & Co-Founder and Chief Digital Officer). As such, they are not only familiar with the home delivery business, but have also had to contend with the arrival of delivery platforms such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats. Joined by Grégory Nadjar (former International COO of Sushi Shop) as a partner, and by about fifteen young professionals - from Deliveroo, Compas, Big Mamma or Sushi Shop - the SmartKitchen team is leveraging its unique delivery experience and technological know-how.

The three partners have already convinced seven prestigious brands to give them exclusivity in the form of a "Digital Master Franchise" contract: PNY Burger, Grazie, Bamboo, Matsuri, WAJ, Island Poké and Frenchie To Go, by Michelin-starred chef Grégory Marchand. Other partnerships with well-known brands are under discussion and will be introduced before the summer to bring the catalogue to around ten in total. To build on these early successes and quickly gain market share in an extremely buoyant environment, the founders can draw on this € 10m round of funding and the support of their shareholders (notably the BMF Group, the bank's family office) to invest € 20m over the year. They are already working on a new round of financing to take place before the end of 2021, which will open the doors of Europe to Smartkitchen.