Zuul, the company that launched NYC's first ghost kitchen, announced their partnership with Aurify Brands and others to license ZuulOS, their proprietary ghost kitchen technology platform. Offering a customizable multi-brand online ordering solution, ZuulOS paves the way for Zuul to expand their building and office delivery model by working with other operators.
"With our acquisition of Ontray in 2019 and subsequent launch of Zuul Market in 2020, we see an opportunity to scale our partnerships-driven delivery model by working with best-in-class operators innovating with virtual brands and starting their own ghost kitchens,” says Corey Manicone, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Zuul. “The ability to drive batched deliveries to buildings, with the accounting, menu architecture, training, and kitchen management system to power the model, is a unique feature set we believe adds immense value to a new class of operators emerging as virtual brands and ghost kitchens continue to proliferate," adds Zuul's Chief Technology Officer and founder of Ontray Technologies, Tyler Wiest.
The Little Beet is one of those operators. Becky Mulligan—Chief Executive Officer of The Little Beet, Le Pain Quotidien US and The Little Beet Table—identified an opportunity to launch a multi-brand ghost kitchen out of the company's Midtown location, which had been heavily dependent on foot traffic before the pandemic. "We realized we could bundle our brands together into one guest experience to generate more revenue from a single location, all made possible through ZuulOS." Now servicing a portfolio of Zuul Market buildings in Midtown Manhattan, the location also features Five Guys, Melt Shop and a virtual brand from The Little Beet team, EAT Tacos.
Zuul has also partnered with other restaurants operating virtual brands in their Midtown location, like Stone Bridge Pizza & Salad. "ZuulOS offers a superior model as a technology solution—we had extensive support and training through the launch, and saw their deep experience running their ghost kitchen translated into the technology," said Enrique Mendez, co-owner of Stone Bridge. "The Zuul kitchen management system is intuitive for our team to use even with the complexity of packing out multi-brand deliveries to buildings."
Zuul plans to expand this model with other operators, including catering companies and a number of top food hall operators across NYC. "We are inspired by the innovation happening across the industry in a shift towards delivery-focused strategies. Whether it be launching virtual brands or food halls creating a unified online guest experience, our goal with ZuulOS was to create a platform for operators to continue to be creative while driving a more profitable delivery model," explains Kristen Barnett, Zuul's Chief Operating Officer. "The unique ability of our technology to batch orders across multiple brands and send with a single courier offers an compelling alternative to the profitability problem with the existing delivery providers."
That ultra-efficient partnership model is what Zuul intends to expand. Currently delivering across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, Zuul has powered thousands of deliveries across their Zuul Market network. After successfully launching with Silverstein Properties as part of their efforts to return to work this summer, Zuul has brought Zuul Market to property developers such as Broad Street Development, and flexible space providers such as WeWork, in a program to offer a food delivery program as an amenity to their New York City member base.