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Salted Raises $14M for Virtual Brands
Amazon's drone ambitions, Deliveroo's healthy Q3, freight rates plummet
Do you like financial reports as much as we do? There’s no better way to understand the health of the delivery biz than by peering into the numbers of its leviathans, figuring out who has better GTV per order, which international segments are growing and which are falling… ahh, what fun. Well today we’ve got an update from Deliveroo, but also some interesting fundraising news from Salted, plus even more drone updates from Amazon. Let’s get to it!
Salted’s Sweet New Fundraising Haul
Amazon’s Sky-High Drone Ambitions
Chart Time | Freight Rates Sink
Deliveroo’s Q3: UK+I Up, Other Countries Down
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VIRTUAL BRANDS | Salted Raises $14 Million
Delivery-oriented restaurant holding company Salted must be feeling sweet, it just raised $14 million in fresh funding. The LA-based company’s brands include Moonbowls, Lulubowls, Ginger Bowls (we get it,) Thrive Kitchen, Califlower Pizza, and the $5 Salad Company; it’s using the capital to launch new concepts (including a Mediterranean brand) and expand its footprint. Currently the company has 25 locations, which average over $1 million in sales each, despite being only a puny 220 square feet per unit.
The Big Picture: CEO Jeff Appelbaum thinks of the company as a “modern Yum Brands” (the holding co for Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC,) but with a focus on veggie-forward healthy menus. Its emphasis on bowl-oriented brand dovetails nicely with its delivery-focus; 90% of its sales come from that channel, and most locations are ghost kitchens. In a nod to the struggles of other dark kitchens to nail the execution of sushi or celebrity hamburgers, the company notes it has an 86% customer positivity score. A perusal of Moonbowls locations across the country shows Google Maps ratings bouncing between 2.8 and 4.5 stars per storefront — pretty respectable for the format.
WEBINAR | Which Restaurant Tech is Worth the Price, 10/26
Does switching from 3PD to 1PD save you on commission or ultimately cost you customers? How can restaurant tech providers justify their cost structures in the wake of Toast’s fee debacle? Which are the value added services that are worth their cost to restaurateurs and retailers? Join us on 10/26 at 10 AM Pacific as we hear from Restaurant Dive’s Lead Editor Emma Beckett, as well as two restaurant tech founders and a scrappy pizza operator, to learn the latest lay of the land.
AUTONOMY | Amazon Integrating Drones Into More Deliveries
Looks like Amazon Prime Air is really taking off: the company just announced it would be deploying its drones at same-day delivery facilities across the country, as opposed to solely using them at standalone sites. Powering the expansion is the company’s new, lighter, faster and quieter MK30 drone. Amazon also plans to extend its drone operations to Italy and the United Kingdom.
The Big Picture: Prime Air’s previous U.S. locations — Lockeford, CA and College Station, TX (the latter being where it just launched Rx delivery) work with dedicated infrastructure, meaning the logistics, warehousing and launching facilities are entirely separate from any other Amazon footprint in town. Going forward, Amazon will integrate the drone operations into existing same-day delivery sites: the urban-scaled logistics centers that also house delivery vans, Flex vehicles, and some storage. Not only does this allow Amazon to scale the solution faster, it means quicker turnarounds of more SKUs for customers, and improved environmental benefits for the service overall.
CHART TIME | Freight Rates Fall
Well that aught to help out with inflation! Since peaking in early 2022, the cost of cargo shipping has absolutely plummeted, down nearly 90% for important routes like China to the U.S. West Coast and Northern Europe. That said, those high rates were a bit of an abnormality, Chartr doesn’t show you how things looked prior to the post-pandemic commerce surge, when numbers were just about where they are today.
3PD | Deliveroo’s Profitable Q3
London-based 3PD Deliveroo released its Q3 financial results, with revenue up 7% to £297M ($362M) from £277 the year prior. GTV was up 3% (5% on a constant currency basis) to £1.64 billion, rising 4-5% per order. Powering that growth was a surge in sales from the UK and Ireland, where revenue was up 7%; its smaller international markets — France, Belgium, Italy, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE — saw revenue drop 7% (4% when accounting for currency fluctuations.) For the full fiscal year, the company is projecting adjusted EBITDA will be in the range of £60-80 million.
The Big Picture: The company notably did not break out profitability for the quarter, but Founder Will Shu said “My confidence in our ability to drive growth and deliver on our goals for profitability and sustainable cash flow generation has never been stronger,” and Deliveroo entered the quarter with a healthy £896M on hand. Deliveroo has 183,000 restaurants and 20,000 grocery sites on its platform; its GTV in the UK & Ireland for the quarter was 61.5% of JET’s performance in those same markets, but Deliveroo’s sales are very slowly catching up with its competitor’s.
A Few Good Links
Grubhub launches “Gold Days of Grubhub+” — five weeks of extra savings at participating chain partners. Walmart opens “next generation” fulfillment center in West Coast. The cost of not upgrading your fleet. Meet the ice cream cargo trike. Which restaurant brands are the simplest? Sweetgreen switches to EVOO. Sodexo UK issues net-zero deadline for suppliers. Restaurant tech providers rush to integrate tools. Food Chain Digest names top providers. Wendy’s and DoorDash kick off football season with $12 off orders of $20+. Instacart partners with The Trade Desk on programmatic advertising.
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