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Alacarte secures $700K investment for ‘virtual food hall’

Meal-prep company to partner with UberEats

Meal-preparation company Alacarte has secured $700,000 in angel financing to form a partnership with UberEats to offer what it said will be a “virtual food hall” experience.

The Miami-based company, which opened its first commissary in Miami Beach four months ago, prepares food based on the specs of local restaurants that it’s partnered with, along with concepts developed by Alacarte, allowing customers to order from multiple virtual concepts and delivering it all at the same time.

“So if the wife wants sushi, the husband wants Mexican and the kids want pizza, they can all order it from us and have it delivered at the same time,” said CEO and co-founder Ken Ray.

Ray said that this latest round of funding came from family and friends, but he recently visited venture capital firms in Boston and New York to raise additional funds for further expansion in high-density markets.

Alacarte has developed five concepts in its commissary: Bobby Ray’s Famous Fried Chicken, Fresco Mexicano, Miami Poke Co., Mott St. Pizza, and Pollerio (offering Latin-accented roasted chicken with sides such as beans, rice, fries and coleslaw).

It has partnered with local concepts Taekaway, which is Chinese, Maki San Sushi, Rosewood Pizza, Whichchicken Rotisserie, Bottle Box (offering beer, wine and sake) and a Chinese noodle restaurant called Chin Tu Fat.

Customers can currently order from Alacarte via other delivery platforms such as Postmates, GrubHub and Amazon Prime, but their software doesn’t allow customers to order from Alacarte’s multiple virtual restaurants. The funding will help Alacarte work with UberEats to develop software that will allow the “virtual food hall” experience.

Ray said each distribution center would be designed for a delivery radius of no more than 5 miles to guarantee delivery within 30 minutes, and ideally within 15 to 20 minutes. He said ideal markets would have at least 250,000 people within that delivery area.

Ray said the company is further fine-tuning its software to track customers’ ordering habits to anticipate their needs better — understanding, for example, that they might indulge on weekends and eat lighter earlier in the week — allowing for faster service and other efficiencies.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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