Uber founder Travis Kalanick’s food-delivery startup has spent more than $130 million on real estate as it looks to build out a network of “ghost kitchens,” a new report says.
Entities linked to CloudKitchens — which rents food-prep spaces to delivery-only restaurants — have snapped up more than 40 properties in almost two dozen cities over the past two years, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
The buildings include a $6.6 million industrial property in Queens and a $9.2 million vacant restaurant space in Miami, according to the paper, which connected the limited-liability companies that now own the properties to CloudKitchens’ parent firm, City Storage Systems LLC.
The buying spree is unusual for startups like CloudKitchens, which often rent space or sign revenue-sharing deals with landlords to facilitate faster growth rather than plunking down cash for properties, the WSJ reported.
CloudKitchens — which Kalanick started after resigning as Uber’s CEO in 2017 amid a slew of scandals — will have to spend even more money converting the spaces into functioning commercial kitchens, according to the Journal.
But CloudKitchens appears to have plenty of cash to burn — the startup reportedly got a $400 million investment from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, and Kalanick cashed out his Uber stock to the tune of more than $2 billion last year as he left the ride-hailing giant’s board of directors.
The company has also been careful about keeping its purchases under wraps. Real-estate agents who signed contracts for properties that CloudKitchens bought told the Journal that they knew little about the buyer’s identity.
CloudKitchens did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the Journal’s reporting.