Salted is going after massive fast-food chains with its platform that scales better-for-you, digitally native quick-service restaurant (QSR) brands. The Los Angeles-based company gobbled up $4 million in seed funding to continue building brands.
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Salted’s platform enables digital-first restaurants to scale while maintaining product consistency and quality for both delivery and takeout dining through its proprietary “intelligent kitchens” software that combines data entry and camera technology to gather insights around order accuracy and preparation, as well as provide recommendations to kitchen teams in real time.
“We like to say we are the Yum! Brands for the digital age,” Jeff Appelbaum, Salted founder and CEO, told Crunchbase News. “We are in a unique position to build brands that are as ubiquitous, and for customers who cares about the quality of food they are putting in their body.”
Kamine Development Corp. led the investment and was joined by Craft Ventures, Valor Equity Partners, Proof Ventures and Wonder Ventures. Since Salted was founded in 2014, it has raised a couple of small rounds previously to make its total funding $9 million, Appelbaum said.
Michael Tam, partner at Craft Ventures, is also based in Los Angeles and had met Appelbaum a few years ago.
“He has a reputation for being a top operator,” Tam said in an interview. “We were early investors in cloud kitchens and saw this opportunity early on; the same opportunity that Salted is embracing for virtual brands.”
Since Salted was founded seven years ago, it’s had a few iterations, including an online cooking school. The focus on providing healthy QSRs and going after the $325 billion dollar food delivery space came about three years ago, Appelbaum said.
The new funding will be used to fuel that growth, as well as invest in technology. He expects to be in 80 more locations, such as Florida, by the end of 2022. Appelbaum is also going into markets that don’t traditionally have access to healthier foods.
The company’s brands include moonbowls, Califlower Pizza and lulubowls, serving everything from cultural cuisine to pizza and salads. They are serving food in 17 locations, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Columbus, Ohio — Salted’s first $1 million run rate location, according to Appelbaum — through 500 storefronts.
Appelbaum says the next steps come down to expansion by “putting our foot on the gas pedal 10x-ing everything we are doing,” he said. That includes continuing to make brands that go from regional favorites to national household brands.
Additionally, Salted launched its first brick-and-mortar storefront, under its moonbowls brand, in Los Angeles earlier this year, Appelbaum said.
“We saw an opportunity to build those brands, the data and technology, and it became a matter of copy and paste,” he said. “We plan to open more kitchens and launch more brands. We’ve grown 150 percent since last year, doubled our locations and have strong growth in each location.”
Feature photo of moonbowls and inset screenshot courtesy of Salted.
Blogroll illustration: Li-Anne Dias