Eating in or eating out? Our investment thesis in Mimic

July 01, 2020

If there is one thing I am sure that most of us are missing during these months in quarantine, it’s eating out with our friends and loved ones. For me, it’s enjoying a perfectly done sushi-set in one of the outstanding Japanese restaurants in Itaim, or a bowl of Ramen in the Pinheiros neighborhood, or perhaps discovering a new place in the centro area. Sprawling with restaurants to satisfy all tastes, São Paulo is one of the foodie capitals of the World.

However, as in any megalopolis, find me demand, and I’ll find you competition. Add to competition, expensive retail-like real estate leases, high staffing and retention costs, high investments in marketing, and you end up with one of the most difficult endeavors in the business world: running a restaurant. All things considered, in case your restaurant ends up doing well, to scale a franchise one must undertake extraordinary high build-out investments.

The above scenario was the paradigm of five years ago, but with the surge of on-demand delivery apps like Rappi, Uber Eats, and iFood (a trend that has been even more attenuated by the pandemic) clients want all the choice in the world, as cost-effectively as they can get them. Brazilians love eating at the tap of a button. According to Morgan Stanley, the Brazilian Food Delivery Market has the potential to become a $41 billion market by 2025.

Although delivery platforms may present restaurants with a new way to increase sales and reach new customers, they also bring renewed competition and further margin squeeze (platform take rate costs). Join the ride and you are left with questions outside the scope of your original business model: How to ensure the quality of food eaten off-premise? How to best serve customers that fall outside of an X mile radius? How to differentiate a brand? How to scale while optimizing for expenditures? How to serve hundreds, if not thousands of orders at different demand peak times?

Looking to help restaurateurs in part, we saw the emergence of ghost kitchens (or dark kitchens). Kitchens that were specifically designed to offer additional cooking infrastructure for independent chefs or traditional restaurants to meet the surge in demand coming from online ordering platforms, without having to cover the build-out costs themselves.

With all of the complexity that comes with operationalizing a high-volume delivery restaurant, Mimic, a startup out of São Paulo, realized that providing just kitchen space would not be enough. Founded by Andres Andrade, an Ecuadorian entrepreneur, Mimic goes further for its clients. Under the Kitchen-as-a-service model (or KaaS), Mimic provides a fully integrated tech first solution aimed at smoothing out the challenges of logistics, supply chain, and food production. The company also plans to offer a full software stack that will help restaurants thrive in the digital age. Currently with 5 fully operational hubs, Mimic works hand-in-hand with emerging brands (like the old-fashioned delicious Patties Burgers) and established franchises (like Botanikafé), to craft menus and ensure consistency in every dish that is served. The winner? You, the foodie at home.

We are in the early days of the KaaS model, but Mimic is already well positioned to establish itself as a leader in this category.  We are excited to partner with this visionary team and look forward to being surprised and dazzled with more delicious at-home meal options.