We advised on a £30 million loan secured against a portfolio of light urban industrial spaces across London, to be let to multiple catering and delivery tenants. The spaces are known as dark kitchens.
Dark kitchens are a new real estate asset class, and have sprung from a growing interest in industrial space being converted into kitchens to meet consumer demand for food delivery. They are designed for multiple tenants to occupy, with well-known takeaway food brands under one roof.
In an asset class of this nature, focus is on the quality and experience of the operator and how their cashflows will be managed, as well as the fall-back value of the space for industrial use.
The Fieldfisher team was led by real estate finance partners Jayne Backett and Iain Thomas.
Jayne says: "We are fortunate that our multi-disciplined and dynamic team at Fieldfisher can support Invesco Real Estate on this pioneering move into lending in the budding dark kitchen industry."
Other Fieldfisher teams have been involved in this growing sector. Our franchising team has been advising a number of food and beverage (F&B) clients on licensing "virtual" formats of their brand to dark kitchen operators, and advising franchisors on how their franchise systems should engage with third-party aggregator platforms. The team has also worked on collaborations between food influencers and dark kitchen operators, with the aim of creating new virtual brands.
Co-head of the franchising team, Gordon Drakes, says: "The pandemic accelerated a number of changes in the F&B sector, and from a franchising/licensing perspective, our clients are adapting their businesses to meet the demands of their customers and operate across multiple channels. This creates opportunities to expand the reach of the brand and generate additional revenue, but at the same creates new complexities in licensing models, which need to be thought through carefully."
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