Two years ago, Reef Technology was preparing for a period of explosive growth. The operator of a network of ghost kitchens – spaces where dishes are prepared independently of restaurants – raised $ 700 million from SoftBank and the Abu Dhabi Sovereign Wealth Fund that same year in a circle that valued it at more than $ 2 billion. The company began hiring, which eventually increased to 15,000 full-time employees.
But now Reef is pushing the brakes on those expansion plans, planning to announce the dismissal of 750 employees as early as next week, according to someone familiar with the matter. In a draft note announcing the layoffs, which was reviewed by The Information, Reef co-founder and CEO Ari Ohalvo said the layoffs were part of an effort to focus on profitability and productivity, “both critical assets in an inflationary environment.” Ojalvo added: “This move has been timely and necessary as we monitor the current state of the economy.
After an intoxicating, 14-year fixation on growth – in number of employees, product lines and revenue – technology companies are sobering up quickly as concerns about the economic downturn intensify. From the smallest startups to industry icons like Facebook, technology companies are starting to cut staff, freeze their hiring and kill trivial projects. Veterans of past bear markets – the global financial crisis in 2008, the implosion of dotcom companies in 2000 – began storming with survival tips for a younger generation of technicians unaccustomed to such precarious circumstances.