Bumble Inc (NASDAQ: BMBL) continues to deliver as the pandemic continues fading away. The very first women-making-the-first-move dating app will open its first café and wine bar on July 24th. Bumble Brew will be located in NYC and will welcome daters, networkers, and friends.
Welcome To Bumble Brew
Its brick-and-mortar debut was first announced two years ago as slated to open in fall 2019 in Manhattan’s SoHo but permit issues and then the pandemic delayed its launch. Bumble Brew is a partnership between the tech platform, which went public in February following a $2.15 billion IPO, and Pasquale Jones, the Italian power-dining room from Delicious Hospitality Group. The space will be outfitted in Bumble’s signature yellow. It will contain an 80-seat dining room, plus a cocktail bar, patio seats, and private dining room. Eventually, there will be events like the ones that have taken place at Bumble Hive, the pop-up precursor to Bumble Brew that offers seminars, along with food and drinks.
A Tweaked Concept
Originally, Bumble Brew was focused on “date-friendly” food meant for sharing, meaning no sauce-laden burgers, spaghetti or any dish that had the potential for embarrassment that could make the first date even more stressful. But the café has been reconceived as a “safe space for healthy and equitable relationships and connections.” This equates to a more robust dining experience for people who have been stuck at home too long. Interestingly, despite the popularity of online interaction during the pandemic, the company perceives an uptick in real-life interaction.
Lunch menu will be a predominantly Mediterranean and vegetable-focused menu with dishes like morel mushroom omelets and grilled baby romaine with green goddess. There will be a dry-aged cheeseburger at the bar—and yes, even such potentially messy pastas as spaghetti with summer zucchini and squid ink. Breakfast will include ricotta with bee pollen and plums, and wild greens with a runny egg. There will also be an ambitious coffee program. To sum up, the choice of the menu ended being based on letting conversation flow.
The First Quarter Of 2021- The Positives
For its first quarterly report since going public, Bumble exceeded Wall Street estimates by generating $165.6 million in revenue with 2.7 million paying users for the fourth quarter, up 32.5% from the fourth quarter of 2019.
The First Quarter Of 2021- The Negatives
Despite extremely strong YoY comparisons, recent quarterly results have shown stagnant sequential growth. Paid user growth, a precursor to increasing revenue, has also slowed considerably. Despite having exploded by over 20% in 2020, growth slowed to less than 4% in the first quarter on a sequential basis. The current slowdown aside, Bumble failed to convert strong pandemic-related growth into positive earnings, generating net losses throughout 2020. The massive positive earnings result in the first quarter was attributable to a tax benefit rather than to improved operating performance. Taking that part out of the equation, it generated a net loss of $113 million.
The all-day dining spot will initially open for breakfast, then for lunch on July 31st with dinner beginning on August 7th. The original expansion plan of opening includes a second location in Austin, Texas, where its headquarters are located.
The beauty of dating is that it is often a multidimensional process. Although it is increasingly originating online, that is only one part of the equation as people eventually need to meet up in person, despite the pandemic creating unique circumstances. But what we all saw is that it can never be the whole thing, let alone replace physical contact so the latest move of the dating powerhouse seems like a step in the good direction.
During the latest earnings call, Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd stated that friendship seems to be the next area of growth. Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz for platonic and professional connections are already integrated within the company’s offerings as adjacent services but it will be interesting to see they develop and hopefully, contribute to the company’s figures.
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