FUKU a REEF restaurant partner.
REEF Kitchens is looking for local restaurants that want to grow their business through delivery & take care of their capital expenses.
To say that this year has brought many challenges is an understatement. However, with these challenges come opportunities, and this year’s most overly used word “pivot”. Businesses in every industry are “pivoting” and changing their ways in a swift manner and adapting to the world’s immediate needs. REEF Kitchens is one of the businesses in the food and beverage industry that is helping restaurants operate during this global pandemic. Their expertise lies in expanding a restaurant’s delivery business which has obviously proven to be an important source of revenue during these times. We’ll stop talking now and let you hear from Alan Philips, Chief Creative Officer of REEF.
How was REEF Kitchens born? Was the project born because of COVID-19 or was it something you wanted to launch from before?
REEF was actually founded about 18 months ago, Our mission is to connect the world to your block. We transform underutilized urban spaces into neighborhood hubs that connect people to locally curated goods, services, and experiences. With an ecosystem of 4,500 locations and a team of 15,000 people, REEF is the largest operator of mobility, logistics hubs, and neighborhood kitchens in the United States. REEF Kitchens is national network of neighborhood kitchens that enable food entrepreneurs, local restaurants, and national restaurant brands to open and quickly expand their delivery businesses. We lower the barriers, costs, and burdens for restaurants and help bring fresh, healthy food to local neighborhoods. COVID-19 is an accelerator of the macro trends we were already seeing – the rise of the neighborhood economy and a demand for delivery operations and neighborhood kitchens, the evolution of the business had already begun.
Are you still taking applications from local restaurants? If so, are there any restrictions on what would make a restaurant a good candidate? How do you pick the restaurants?
Yes, we are actively taking applications and engaging with restaurateurs, chefs, and other food & drink creators. A good candidate is a local chef or restaurant who has a strong local presence and food that is beloved and brings joy to the local community. We ultimately will work with the restaurants and move forward if we believe they can be successful on our platform. We don’t want people spinning their wheels, we want them to make money and grow their business.
Are you working with other restaurants besides Michael Schwartz of Genuine Hospitality, Michelle Bernstein, and Della Bowls?
Yes, we are. We recently launched a partnership with David Chang’s Fuku and have dozens of other brands in various stages of operation and development.
What does re-opening look like with Michael Schwartz of Genuine Hospitality, Michelle Bernstein, and Della Bowls? Are you already operating with these concepts? Where are your operations located?
We have been working with Della for a while now. Reef helped her keep her business going when she lost her space and we have begun expanding her beyond Miami. Michelle is working with us in two capacities, she is helping us develop our culinary capabilities and she will be launching a delivery-only concept soon. We love Michael Schwartz and have a close relationship with his team. We are working with them on multiple concepts which we intend to launch in the coming month.
How are you funding these restaurants?
There is no capital expense for a restaurant to work with Reef. We handle all operations, culinary development, marketing, and delivery platform management. REEF has spent a lot of resources to develop this platform and capabilities and we continue to invest in every new restaurant that joins the platform.
What’s the process/plan like when working with REEF? When do you stop helping one restaurant and move on to the next?
- First step is a concept evaluation and relationship discussion.
- Second step is refining the concept for a delivery-only model and platform. This may involve streamlining, updating marketing, or discussing custom packaging.
- Third we work closely with the restaurant to run a pilot and work out all the kinks, see what sells, get the quality and taste right. Protecting and executing creative capital is a top priority for us. From there, if the pilot is a success, we begin the process of expanding into new neighborhoods and cities.
What makes REEF more equipped to help restaurants operate takeout and delivery options?
We are focused on doing that and only that, better than anyone else in the world. We understand the model, the challenges, the margins, and scaling. It is often not profitable for restaurants to run their own delivery. In our model, every dollar the partners make is pure bottom-line profit.
What are your future plans? Do you plan to open up in different cities?
We are currently in 20 markets and will continue to expand our footprint alongside the demand. We aim to be able to service 70% of the US urban population from our kitchens and would like to be a valued partner to restaurants both big and small.
Is there any way the community can help support your concept?
Stay safe, and let’s work together to help our local restaurants and businesses navigate the reopening. Together we can all work together to keep our communities moving forward in a sustainable and thoughtful way. If you know any great Miami chefs or restaurants have them get in touch at neighborhoodkitchens.com