Culinary on-demand startup Kitchen United announced the grand opening of its 12,000-square-foot local food hub in Pasadena, California. The facility helps food businesses expand their delivery, takeout and catering operations. At opening, the space will house 15 different concepts, specially optimized to take advantage of KU’s delivery-centric infrastructure. This facility is the first opened by the company and plans are in place to open nationwide in the coming year.
Kitchen United houses several larger regional and national brands, including concepts from Canter’s Deli, Neal Fraser’s Fritzi Coop, Mama Musubi, Northern California better burger chain, Barney’s Gourmet Burgers and vegan startup The Pizza Plant. As the company expands across the country, locations are selected by converging demographic data with demand indicators such as delivery application usage and unmet demand indicators as well as feedback from national and regional restaurant chains targeting expansion through Kitchen United’s facilities.
“We quickly recognized that restaurants needed much more than access to a kitchen to make these specialized ‘outposts’ work,” says Jim Collins, CEO of Kitchen United. “So we have designed a unique solution, providing a combination of technology, equipment, marketing assistance and workflow solutions specifically optimized to ensure partner success. We’re thrilled to be working with a growing suite of impressive food innovators supplying not just the commercial kitchen space they need, but the resources and support to bring their vision to fruition.”
Kitchen United’s mission is to enable both established and new restaurant concepts to adapt to rapid changes in the restaurant industry driven by the explosive growth of consumer demand for delivery. Some restaurants have already seen the impact, with as much as 30% of order volume coming from outside of the dining room, and this trend is just beginning, with most industry analysts projecting multi-fold growth in the coming years.
“Kitchen United is transforming the food business and helping to build the future of restaurants,” says Carol Kwan, half of the brother-sister team behind Mama Musubi, a well-known Los Angeles based catering company specializing in Japanese cuisine. “Thus far, we’ve only had the capacity to be at farmers markets and popups. With Kitchen United, we’re able expand our reach through delivery while still focusing on what we love: serving our existing customer base and testing new ideas without having to worry about the operational nitty gritty that would be involved in opening our own space.”
Conceived and built by restaurant industry veterans from companies like Taco Bell, McDonalds and Wolfgang Puck, Kitchen United was designed with delivery in mind. Every process involved in the preparation, cooking, and delivery of food is optimized in the tech-enabled establishment through kitchen automation and ordering solutions seamlessly integrating most popular mobile and online delivery platforms. Restaurants save costs through shared back of house labor for non-core functions such as receiving and scullery, and facilities are designed with the new “diner” in mind, providing specified delivery driver parking as well as easy access consumer pickup. Moreover, Kitchen United has dedicated staff to work with restaurants to continuously improve the consumer experience and everything from food preparation to packaging is scrutinized in the process.
Kitchen United today also announced it has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from Cali Group, Avista Investments and other private investors, which will be used to accelerate growth and fuel expansion in key markets in the U.S.