Opes Acquisition Corp’s business combination target, BurgerFi International launched its first ghost kitchen in Miami Monday. The better-burger chain announced last month a multi-market licensing agreement with REEF Kitchens, the leader in the development and expansion of tech-forward neighborhood kitchens that connect people to on-demand goods and services in a sustainable and thoughtful way. The VC-backed “neighborhood kitchen” is the first of up to 15 planned kitchens for BurgerFi across the country.

This newly opened Miami locale will service all of Downtown Miami and the Brickell area. BurgerFi has two more Miami delivery-only, “ghost” kitchen locations in the pipeline with the next one set to open in Midtown Miami shortly thereafter, increasing the brand’s reach from the Midtown area to Wynwood and the Design District.

“Our team is thrilled to partner with BurgerFi’s senior management to support the numerous growth initiatives, such as ghost kitchens, which allow for a significantly greater brand footprint and the ability to test new markets,” says Ophir Sternberg, chairman of Opes Acquisition Corp.

OPES announced last week its intent to merge with BurgerFi. OPES and BurgerFi are on track to execute the definitive agreement by the end of the month with a closing expected in the third quarter of 2020.

“BurgerFi’s rapid ascension in the ‘better-burger’ space combined with its technology-driven business model and highly-scalable structure makes it poised for significant shareholder value creation,” adds Sternberg.

With off-premise sales becoming integral to the restaurant industry, BurgerFi has remained on the forefront of innovation by having significantly optimized its takeout and delivery platforms for superior performance and profitability.

By the end of the year, BurgerFi will enter many new markets with REEF’s neighborhood kitchens including Seattle, Houston, Nashville and Minneapolis. Additional markets are scheduled for 2021. In these markets, consumers will be able to enjoy BurgerFi’s crave-worthy, chef-crafted menu offerings by ordering on their favorite delivery apps.

“We are pleased to launch our first REEF Kitchen in Miami and be their first national burger partner,” says Charlie Guzzetta, Chief Brand Development Officer for BurgerFi. “Our purpose is to redefine the way the world eats burgers – we do that by harnessing innovation and technology to provide our guests with an unparalleled eating and dining experience. Ghost kitchens allow us to tap into existing infrastructure to create new growth opportunities while building brand recognition and integrity.”

Given the fast growth of on-demand food delivery, REEF Technology has created delivery-only neighborhood kitchens, otherwise known as ghost kitchens, as a key component of their hubs. REEF Kitchens is a national network of 85+ neighborhood kitchens across 18 cities that allow food entrepreneurs, local restaurants, and national restaurant brands to open and quickly expand their delivery businesses. REEF Kitchens lowers the barriers, costs, and burdens for restaurants and is helping to bring fresh, healthy, responsible and chef-driven food to local neighborhoods.

“We are excited to partner with BurgerFi on this exciting initiative to help expand the brand’s footprint,” says Bruce Schroder, President of REEF Kitchens. “REEF is proud to offer its best-in-class service, quality, and fast delivery to serve more BurgerFi customers in the Miami region.”

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