Reef Technology President Michael Beacham Out at Ghost Kitchen Startup

Clara D. Flaherty

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  • Reef has replaced president Michael Beacham, who spearheaded promotions with crucial chains like Wendy’s. 
  • “Reef is picking to close my work just before I was capable to fully total the mission,” Beacham claimed.
  • The departure comes as the ghost kitchen area startup slowed its growth and laid off 750 people today.

Reef Technology, a ghost kitchen startup backed by SoftBank, has ousted a important executive who spearheaded vital licensing partnerships with leading cafe chains this sort of as Wendy’s and TGI Fridays, Insider has learned.

Restaurant business veteran Michael Beacham, who most not too long ago held the title of president of kitchens at Reef,  claimed in an special statement to Insider that “Reef is deciding on to end my work.”  

“I invested the very last 18 months, operating working day and night time and traveling the world, striving to create a world-course meals and beverage government team. I utilized my 30 a long time of particular and qualified marketplace interactions to convey the most acknowledged brand names into the REEF ecosystem,” Beacham explained to Insider. “It is regrettable that REEF is picking to close my work right before I was in a position to absolutely full the mission I came listed here to realize. There is more to this tale and to what transpired to me, which will appear out at the suitable time.”

His final day is June 12. 

Beacham, who consistently represented Reef at market conferences, has been quietly changed with Kenneth Rourke, who is now president of kitchens and retail at Reef. Rourke’s earlier title was govt vice president and head of company brand names. Right before becoming a member of Reef, he was president at the experiential restaurant group Barton G.

Reef declined to go on the record about the departure, only confirming that Beacham is leaving and has been changed by Rourke. The information comes a month immediately after the ghost kitchen corporation slash 5% of its workforce in early Could. 

A present-day operations supervisor said Reef was on the lookout for a slide man for its operational troubles and Beacham took the strike. “Even though not a good chief, Michael did not singlehandedly make every single bad final decision for the corporation,” the supervisor mentioned. “There are additional management roles than precise doing work roles at the organization, so till Reef starts cleaning residence at the management degree, we will maintain looking at the similar difficulties. It can be a disgrace Michael is having the backlash solo when so lots of individuals in management are right accountable.”

The manager asked to keep on being nameless mainly because they are not licensed to communicate to the push, but their id is acknowledged to Insider.

Beacham experienced a long time of expertise in the cafe field, earlier keeping government positions for the parent businesses of Olive Garden, Chuck E Cheese, and Hard Rock Cafe (the place he and Rourke were coworkers). He commenced performing at Reef in October 2020, a month prior to the Miami-centered startup landed $700 million in funding led by SoftBank. 

In February 2021, Beacham replaced Bruce Schroder as president of Reef. For the duration of his tenure, he oversaw huge development at Reef, which operates cell trailers that offer foodstuff for delivery by way of apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats.

Beacham was liable for hanging partnerships with higher-profile restaurant chains like Burger King, Popeyes, and Subway, as perfectly as celebrity-backed supply-only models like MrBeast Burger and Male Fieri’s Flavortown Kitchen. 

Reef’s cell kitchen vessels are normally established up in parking loads managed by Reef, formerly known as ParkJockey. Reef grew from 100 kitchen vessels in late 2020 to 320 kitchen vessels working in the US and globally in late 2021. 

In January, Reef temporarily closed about one particular-third of its foods trailers for underperforming. All over the similar time, the corporation began stepping up its partnerships with big business makes like Wendy’s, which designed more dollars in contrast to digital makes.

But the startup’s speedy expansion has been hounded by operational chaos and missteps, as documented by Insider. The business has been caught running trailers with out permits in a number of US metropolitan areas, has been cited for violating foodstuff safety protocols, and has been accused of stiffing suppliers.

Most lately, Insider reported that actual-estate firm JLL sued Reef, alleging nonpayment of invoices totaling about $3.5 million. This week, Reef submitted a movement to dismiss the JLL fit, stating the complaint consists of “quite a few lethal flaws.”

Are you a Reef Engineering insider with perception to share? Obtained a suggestion? Contact this reporter through email at [email protected] or via Sign encrypted quantity 714-875-6218 on a non-perform unit.

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