The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred restaurants and food providers to pursue automated and contactless solutions to reduce health risks, while the stay-at-home measures mean consumers are preparing more meals at home. Shifted priorities for commercial and consumer kitchens contribute to an unprecedented opportunity for kitchen technology startups. Our latest analyst note investigates this trend. Among our findings:
• VC activity in kitchentech and robotics startups has declined over the past two years, with $140.0 million invested across 17 VC deals in 2020 through December 11. However, we suspect the consumer shift to at-home cooking may drive new investment opportunities in the near term.
• Labor challenges are a key long-term driver of commercial kitchen automation. Although near-term economic hardship inflicted upon the restaurant industry may constrain investment in automation, demand for contactless solutions may be a tailwind.
• Added risks and challenges to launching kitchen hardware versus software may limit the investor pool.