The ghost kitchen trend continues to catch fire with news late last month that Manhattan based Zuul Kitchens, has acquired the OnTray online food-ordering platform.
“Joining OnTray and Zuul Kitchens is a natural move,” noted new Zuul CTO Tyler Wiest, who had been the CEO of OnTray. The deal will enable the ghost kitchen operator Zuul that also offers individual kitchen spaces for restaurants to prepare delivery orders to offer it restaurant clients and ordering platform.
“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,” Wiest continued.
Philadelphia-based Ontray, meanwhile, has an online ordering platform aimed at smaller restaurants who might not have the cash or inclination to pay the massive commission fees associated with bigger delivery services like Grubhub and DoorDash. Ontray’s software lets restaurants create a custom website integrated with an online ordering platform or add online ordering capabilities to existing sites. The idea is to let restaurants retain control over their own branding and, most important, customer data, two things they must give away when working with third-party delivery services like Grubhub. Restaurants can view sales and customer data, monitor SEO, manage multiple restaurants, and import menus with Ontray’s system. Ontray also charges lower commission fees than a restaurant would typically have to pay with a bigger service.
Zuul opened its first ghost kitchen facility in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood in 2019. The location serves as a place where restaurant chains like Sweetgreen and Junzi can rent kitchen space to fulfill delivery orders and grow their off-premises strategies.
“We have acquired key technical assets and talent from Ontray to better support our restaurant members and set them up for success,” Zuul Kitchens co-founder and CEO Corey Manicone said. “Together with Ontray’s technology, Zuul can innovate a ‘whole product delivery solution’ that includes affordable online ordering for our members.”
Zuul is currently based in Manhattan in a 5,000-square-foot facility with nine kitchens. The company plans to continue to open kitchen locations throughout New York City in the coming years.
To learn more about Zuul Kitchens, visit their website.