Reef Technologies and C3 are expanding their partnership. The ghost kitchen operator will now service C3’s virtual brands from 800 ghost kitchens by 2025, up from the 500 locations the two companies previously agreed on.
“We have a long-term relationship with C3 and we’re great partners,” said Michael Beacham, president of Reef. “They’re bringing a whole lot of exciting brands backed by influencers, celebrity chefs. This is an opportunity for us to further expand the brands.” The agreements covers “all” of C3’s brands, he continued, which include Krispy Rice, Umami Burger and Sam’s Crispy Chicken.
Sam Nazarian, CEO and founder of C3, said, “We are thrilled to expand our incredibly successful partnership with Reef which has helped our ecosystem of brands to flourish. As we expand our operations Reef continues to be our choice for technology, supply chain and operations,” in a statement.
Beacham said the larger number reflects Reef’s greater opening capacity. He added that the company is on track to exceed its opening targets for the year, both in its C3 partnership and in its partnerships with other brands.
In addition to growing across the U.S., Reef will deliver C3’s brands to an international audience. Beacham said the company was looking at sites in Europe and the Middle East, but declined to share country-level specifics.
If you’ve been watching the headlines over the past couple of months, you’ll know Reef deals in big numbers. The company also has major agreements with Wendy’s, TGI Fridays and 800 Degrees, and has committed to filling orders for as many as 2,300 digital storefronts.
“Our innovative model allows us to build [locations] at a much lower cost” than brick and mortar restaurants, Beacham said, “which allows us to commit to much bigger numbers.”
Rather than build restaurants, Reef deploys what it calls “vessels,” or custom-built trailers, usually 24 to 28 feet long and eight feet wide, that contain an entire commercial kitchen. Each vessel has the capacity for one high-volume brand, or if multiple brands work well together in terms of ingredients and equipment, up to eight lower-volume brands. The company has roughly 450 kitchens in operation, serving the equivalent of 6,500 storefronts, according to Beacham.
In addition to the vessels, Reef operates some food trucks, some brick-and-mortar kitchens, and some non-traditional locations in airports and hotels. Beacham said the standard model can vary by geography, with brick-and-mortar more prevalent overseas, and food trucks dominating in areas where regulations haven’t caught up with Reef’s mobile kitchen concept.
Like Reef, C3 has had a busy 2021. The company launched its first food hall, which combines its virtual brands with a dine-in experience, in New York City and created a new wing of the company to house its up-and-coming influencer-backed brands. According to a recent press release, the company is collaborating with youtubers Danny Duncan, a comedian of sorts, Matt Stonie, a competitive eater, and Rosanna Pansino, a food and baking influencer, to launch new virtual restaurant brands.
The three have a collective 33 million YouTube subscribers. A quick look at their selective channels shows that Duncan’s brand is likely “Big Dick’s World Famous Chicken,” and Stonie’s is simply “Poke Bowl.” Beacham said that, when those brands come out, he expects Reef will integrate them into the 800 locations they open on behalf of C3.