"No one's talking about this!"
Or, how things [don't] get covered
Fresh off of Bloomberg’s “ghost kitchens are dying and no one noticed” op-ed, I bring you: “Very little has been written about Travis Kalanick’s (Uber’s ex CEO) new company: CloudKitchens.”
The sentiment, posted in a tweet, comes from an early product manager and designer at Uber who, per the Twitter thread, turned down an offer to work at the ghost kitchen real estate company last valued at a reported $15 billion.
CloudKitchens converts warehouses and other large spaces to a collection of small commercial kitchens, and rents them to restaurants for delivery and takeout operations. It also developed its own ordering and fulfillment software, called Otter, that restaurant tenants are required to use.
Of course, plenty has been written about CloudKitchens since Kalanick took over in 2018. The Financial Times reported on Kalanick’s “secret venture” in 2019, noting he’d recruited several early Uber hires to the company. Months later, the Wall Street Journal reported Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund invested $400 million in CloudKitchens earlier that year. And in the years since, we’ve heard plenty about the experience for restaurants and for delivery drivers — it just hasn’t been very positive.
It is true that there’s been no grand, fawning coverage of the scale and size of CloudKitchens; and the press hasn’t written extensively about its trajectory the way it covered Uber. But CloudKitchens isn’t a consumer brand, and clear info about the company seems intentionally obscured.
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