REEF, the largest operator of neighborhood kitchens and urban logistics hubs in the United States, announced an initiative to help local restaurants get back up and running in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a time when so many restaurants are shuttering, REEF is deploying additional resources and investing in a dedicated local restaurants team to work with restaurateurs so they can reopen quickly and profitably without any upfront capital costs.
The initiative, incubated in Miami over the last month, was launched across 10 markets this morning as an open call to local restaurants at neighborhoodkitchens.com. With this launch, REEF Kitchens has developed a Local Restaurant Team, a team of 10 that will focus on helping single door owner/operators to develop their offsite delivery-only restaurant operations, and provide them with the tools they need to scale locally and nationally.
In addition to a dedicated team, REEF has quickly expanded its capacity by doubling its neighborhood kitchens in top markets and aims to bring in over 100 restaurants in 2020. The initiative was piloted in Miami, New York, and San Francisco, and is now accepting submissions across all REEF markets across the U.S. REEF has already teamed up with beloved local restaurants and national brands from David Chang’s Fuku , J ack’s Wife Freda in New York, Grubstake Diner and Saucy Asian in San Francisco, and Michael’s Genuine and Della Bowls in Miami.
“Most people may not be aware, but restaurants are often not profitable at 50 or 60 percent capacity, or executing delivery from their brick and mortar locations," says Alan Phillips, Chief Creative Officer of REEF. "REEF will help them make money now and be a platform for them to grow their businesses in the future.”
While the full extent of the economic impact of COVID-19 continues to evolve, the crisis has taken an unprecedented toll on the restaurant industry, and especially independent operators. The National Restaurant Association estimates a loss of $240 billion in restaurant sales by the end of the year, with a recent study showing that one in four restaurants will not re-open. Reservations are down 95% however, the demand for convenient and contact-free food delivery has grown.
The program allows restaurant owners to apply with a simple 9-question application form. For accepted applicants, REEF Kitchens has committed to covering all the operational costs with no upfront capital expense on the owner’s end. REEF will work with each concept to onboard, develop a menu, put a REEF operational team in place, manage the delivery platforms, hire and train staff, manage inventory, handle customer service, handle the care of facilities and provide marketing support and access to on-site partner couriers ensuring food reaches consumers fast and fresh. Once up and running, the restaurant and REEF share revenue based on total volume.
“Restaurants have already swiftly pivoted to offering takeout or delivery in an effort to keep their doors open – and not all were equipped to make this switch on a dime,” adds Phillips. “Our call to restaurants is this: you show up with your idea and brand, and we’ll do the rest. We are here for you, let’s reopen together.”
REEF’s neighborhood kitchens are distributed across the city, enabling restaurants to extend their reach of delivery services and providing proximity to their customers, reducing delivery times and giving them the ability to scale concepts better and faster.
“We are very excited to join REEF's innovative platform. Growing our reach will allow us to bring more people and more joy into the Jack’s Wife Frieda community in New York and beyond,” says Dean Jankelowitz, Owner of Jack’s Wife Freda, “We see REEF’s delivery-only neighborhood kitchens as a complement to the traditional restaurant business and believe they will become an important partner for the restaurant business in the new normal."
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