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Myeongdong Topokki’s parent company invests US$1mil to grow virtual restaurant concept

Virtual restaurant company eatwhatnxt has announced that it’s raised seed funding of US$1 million from its parent company, Cravito Group (known for MyeongDong Topokki).

eatwhatnxt helps existing restaurants earn extra revenue by putting their underutilised equipment to use under a virtual restaurant brand, which is delivery-only.

Restaurants are given the option to choose from various virtual restaurant brands under Cravito Group such as Ado-Rabowl, Rice Society, and Tacology.

Depending on what they’ve picked, Cravito Group will then guide them in implementing the system and technology in their existing restaurant.

Training will also be provided by the company, and hiring additional staff to manage the virtual restaurant brands is unnecessary.

If all goes according to plan, Vincent Lua, CEO of Cravito Group previously told us that restaurants should be able to earn an additional RM1,000 to RM3,000 a day per brand.

Eyeing aggressive growth in SEA

Since we last wrote about eatwhatnxt in December 2020 (pre-launch), it’s expanded its portfolio of virtual restaurant brands from 12 to 15 names after launching in January 2021.

With this seed funding, it now has 12 cloud kitchens, 2 of which are operational, and 10 locations that are being renovated.

Despite the business still being new, Vincent wants to grow it aggressively by adding another 20 cloud kitchens to its portfolio within Malaysia.

At the same time, the company is in discussions with venture capitalists to grow eatwhatnxt regionally by opening 50 cloud kitchens in Indonesia.

His confidence stems from the fact that they’re able to collect readily available data through MyeongDong Topokki and adapt it to drive operations in eatwhatnxt.

This allows them to suggest the right virtual brands to restaurants and advise them on what the best-selling items in their specific region/area are.

Likely to meet competition soon

The concept of a virtual restaurant brand is far from being new even in Malaysia, but most operate out of cloud kitchens that have been built for the sole purpose of operating a delivery-only business.

On the other hand, utilising an existing restaurant’s dormant equipment to run a virtual brand alongside its regular operations is less of a common concept, especially one that’s done on eatwhatnxt’s scale.

Vincent believes that eatwhatnxt is capable of harnessing untapped opportunities in the SEA region, and Malaysia is a good place to start for the above reason. Not to mention the fact that he’s got a firm understanding of how to run F&B businesses here.

However, the next market he’s eyeing, Indonesia, already saw what claims to be its first multi-brand virtual restaurant, Hangry, in 2019. There may be several differences in how Hangry and eatwhatnxt operate, but Hangry’s longer experience in operating such a business in Indonesia may give it a leg up over eatwhatnxt.

This isn’t to say that Cravito Group is at a massive disadvantage though, because the MyeongDong Topokki brand had already set foot in Indonesia via a master franchisee in 2019. With that, it’s likely that Vincent and Cravito Group already have some insight into leveraging Indonesia’s food trends.

  • You can learn more about eatwhatnxt here.
  • You can read more F&B related content here.

Featured Image Credit: Vincent Lua, CEO of Cravito Group

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