New York-based ghost kitchen operator Zuul Kitchens on Monday said it has acquired the online restaurant ordering system Ontray.
Terms were not disclosed for the deal, but Zuul CEO Corey Manicone said acquisition of the Philadelphia-based startup and its strategic assets will allow the growing ghost kitchen concept to expand its services to restaurant partners to help them drive revenue.
“We have acquired key technical assets and talent from Ontray to better support our restaurant members and set them up for success,” said Manicone. “Together with Ontray’s technology, Zuul can innovate a ‘whole product delivery solution’ that includes affordable online ordering for our members.”
Ontray — which has processed $3 million in sales for restaurants since it launched in 2016 — targets small and independent restaurant companies, offering an opportunity for them to create a customized online or mobile ordering system for a small commission fee per order, making it more accessible than services offered by the larger platforms, like Grubhub and DoorDash.
Manicone said Ontray’s CEO Tyler Wiest will join Zuul as chief technology officer.
“Joining Ontray and Zuul Kitchens is a natural move,” said Wiest in a statement. “Both companies share a similar goal: returning the power and purse back to individual restaurants. We both believe that restaurants’ full-time focus should be on running a restaurant — not burdensome, expensive tasks like online ordering or delivery operations.”
Down the road, Zuul also plans to create a platform for ordering food, enabling guests to order from multiple brands cooking out of the ghost kitchen facilities in one order, Manicone said.
Making its debut in New York City last year, Zuul is among a growing number of ghost kitchen operators offering shared commissary kitchens for restaurants looking to expand their delivery reach without a brick-and-mortar investment.
Zuul’s first facility opened with nine kitchens optimized for delivery. Among the chains dispatching delivery orders out of the facility are Sweetgreen, Junzi, Sarge’s deli and Stone Bridge Pizza & Salad.
Manicone said “a handful” of additional Zuul locations are scheduled open this year in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
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