Dark kitchen start-up Taster has raised $37m (£26.5m) in new investment to roll out its delivery-only model across Europe.

The operator, which is led by former Deliveroo executive Anton Soulier, has been inspired by fast food brands such as McDonald’s to license its proprietary brands to under-utilised kitchens.

The latest investment round sees UK-based Octopus Ventures return as Taster’s lead investor. Global venture capital firm Rakuten, and existing investors Battery, Latitude and Heartcore also participated.

Taster will keep its existing 10 kitchens in London, Paris and Madrid to test new menus and use as training kitchens for licensees.

Having recently launched in Strasbourg, it will next start operating in Manchester and other “top cities” in the UK and France.

Via the franchise model, the goal is to expand from 11 European towns and cities currently to 40 by the end of 2021, and jump from 70 digital restaurants today to 10,000 globally by 2025.

Taster’s technology alo helps partner restaurants forecast demand, and has its own in-house aggregation system to manage orders.

Soulier said partners generate about a 20% net profit margin on Taster.

He told tech online magazine Sifted “Our ambition is to become bigger than McDonald’s. In the long term, we want to beat them on the delivery side everywhere.”

He added: “We’re going to go 100% down the licensing route.

“Franchising is a no brainer. A lot of restaurant kitchens are underutilised — and they’re a bit lost when it comes to food delivery: ‘Should I launch my own brand? Which platform should I go to? How should I market myself?’”

“It’s a win-win situation: we help them — and for us, it’s a great way to expand our brand, very quickly.”

Restaurant partners are charged a commission similar to what delivery platforms charge.

In exchange they benefit from Taster’s marketing, get listed on Deliveroo and Uber Eats, and buy from Taster’s supply chain.