Virtual restaurant brand player Peckwater Brands has expanded its reach further into Europe with the acquisition of competitor Eatclever.

Peckwater, the largest operator of virtual food brands – brands only found on third-party delivery platforms such as Deliveroo and Just Eat – has expanded its European presence to Germany, Austria and Switzerland with the deal.

It will take on Eatclever’s operations in almost 100 restaurants across the central European region, expanding their presence into three new countries for the group.

The UK-based group now operates delivery-only food brands from more than 500 unique locations across nine countries: UK, US, France, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Hungary, the Czech Republic and the UAE.

The deal includes Hamburg-based Eatclever’s food brands, including Taste & Soul, Chicos, and KoChi (Korean Fried Chicken).

The takeover marks Peckwater’s second European acquisition in the past five months, following its deal for the Honest Food Company in September.

This international expansion has been fuelled in part by the £15m Series A funding round completed in June 2022, backed by Stonegate Group, SBI Investments, Fuel Ventures, and Pembroke VCT, at a post-money valuation of £65m.

Sam Martin, CEO and co-founder of Peckwater, said: “This is such an exciting development for us. With Eatclever, we have acquired the virtual brand delivery market leader across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, which is a tremendous opportunity to increase our presence in central Europe, and we’re thrilled to bring Eatclever’s excellent selection of brands under the Peckwater umbrella.

“In the past 12 months we’ve greatly accelerated our international expansion, boosted by our Series A funding round last summer. We’re now in seven new markets and working with hundreds of new clients – kitchen operators across Europe. The DACH market is a promising new arena for us, and this acquisition further cements our position as Europe’s leading virtual food brand operator.

“Our team has been working tirelessly to make our growth plans a reality, showing extraordinary commitment and insight while executing our strategy. I’m really proud of what they have achieved, and we anticipate more exciting developments and success in 2023, so watch this space.”

Founded in 2019, Peckwater builds delivery-only food brands, helping restaurants and kitchens streamline operations using its software platform.

In the UK, it claims to run the largest estate of virtual brands, operating almost 200 contracted sites and running a mix of licensed brands and shared brands with partners such as Unilever, Buzzfeed and Heinz.