Burger King's parent company is investing in a delivery marketplace for home cooks.
Restaurant Brands International, which also owns Popeyes and Tim Hortons, led a $14 million Series A round for WoodSpoon, a startup that connects home-based chefs with local customers.
The fast-food giant framed the investment as part of its goal to become a "leader in the digital restaurant space," and appears to view the relationship as an opportunity to learn from WoodSpoon.
"We have been accelerating our digital agenda at RBI over the last several years and believe the future of restaurants includes a fully integrated digital experience for guests," said COO Josh Kobza in a statement. "We are proud to support and learn from such a passionate and talented team."
WoodSpoon was founded in 2019 and currently operates in the New York boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Customers can use its website or app to browse a selection of vetted home chefs and order food from them on-demand or ahead of time. WoodSpoon handles the delivery from the chef's home to the customer. CEO Oren Saar likened the service to Uber or Airbnb, but for food.
"This latest round shows that there is immense value in our platform to bring people together around home-cooked food and allow local home chefs to provide their meals to the masses through WoodSpoon," he said in a statement.
Services like WoodSpoon aim to provide a platform for chefs who lost their foodservice jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic or who could not otherwise open a restaurant. Similar companies like Foodnome and Shef have garnered attention recently; the latter closed a $20 million funding round in June.
All three pride themselves on highlighting culturally diverse chefs and cuisines. And all appear to be growing quickly. WoodSpoon said it has recently seen 50% month-over-month growth "in every aspect of the business," including sales, new customers, new chefs and revenue. It currently has about 16,000 active customers.
WoodSpoon will use the funding infusion to grow its staff in New York and Tel Aviv and is also planning to expand to another large city in the next few months.
"We're excited to continue growing and onboarding new customers and home chefs," Saar said.
The Series A brings the company's total funding to $16 million following a $2 million seed round in December. Contributing to the latest round were World Trade Ventures; Victor Lazarte, co-founder of mobile gaming company Wildlife Studios; and other individual investors.