NewcrestImage has become an investment partner in TiffinLabs, a Singapore-based food tech company that is expanding its food delivery-focused virtual restaurant brands in the U.S. hospitality industry.
TiffinLabs, which has introduced numerous virtual brands across Singapore and Malaysia since its founding in 2020, started its expansion into the U.S. in Dallas last year and now operates in additional cities, including Chicago; Detroit; Knoxville, TN; and Charlotte, NC. By 2023, it expects to have 1,000 digital storefronts globally and to be operating in 30 U.S. cities.
For NewcrestImage, the investment is a new venture following the sale of its 27-hotel portfolio to Summit Hotel Properties in January.
“NewcrestImage is at an important turning point of its growth,” said Mital Patel, managing partner, NewcrestImage, in an exclusive interview with Hotel Business. “After the recent sale of our portfolio, we are expanding within hospitality and diversifying beyond hospitality. TiffinLabs is exactly the kind of investment we’re looking for because it’s a game-changer for hotels and restaurants—and because we want to be the company that helps pioneer this concept in the United States.”
He pointed out that TiffinLabs provides a way to generate new revenue through its unique ghost kitchen and virtual menu business model.
“We saw this first-hand at NewcrestImage when we used TiffinLabs to introduce new food options at our 27 properties prior to our sale of those properties,” said Patel. “The results were dramatic; we attracted many new customers and we generated significant new high-margin income.”
According to Patel, many TiffinLabs operators have achieved dramatically higher revenues and better margins, such as driving up to four-fold increases in on-premise and delivery revenue and 30% increases in overall profit.
Hotel properties currently using the TiffinLabs concept operate under such brands as Hilton Garden Inn, Doubletree, Hyatt Place, AC Hotels, Courtyard and Best Western. Hotel companies that are TiffinLabs operating partners include HP Hotels, PM Hotel Group, Murphy Asset Management and Aimbridge Hospitality.
Patel noted that hotel owners have several reasons to consider working with TiffinLabs at their properties. “First and foremost, TiffinLabs solves the age-old F&B problem that most hotels face. Namely, if you don’t offer a destination restaurant, it’s hard to make food and beverage functional and profitable,” he said. “TiffinLabs uses a hotel’s existing kitchen equipment, existing staff and existing purchasing procedures. Then, it creates between one and four virtual restaurant brands at each hotel that carefully reflect local tastes and demographics.”
Within 30 days, a hotel can launch between one and four food concepts that each can deliver $4,000 or more per month of incremental revenue, according to Patel, adding, “And it also adds huge value, both at an individual hotel and across a multi-hotel portfolio.”
He continued, “All this is major, especially in our current economic environment—and it’s why we have been able to establish 200 storefronts in the U.S. in just the last 90 days. Now we are taking the lead in helping the company and the concept grow in this country.”
With its investment, NewcrestImage becomes the second-largest shareholder in TiffinLabs.