Pasadena Startup with Revolutionary Commercial Kitchen Concept Expands Eastward

Published : Monday, December 10, 2018 | 5:56 AM

Image Courtesy Kitchen United website

Kitchen United, the revolutionary virtual restaurant provider based in Pasadena, is expanding eastward and will be opening a 35,000-square-foot facility in Central Ohio around January 2019.

The Google-backed commercial kitchen will be setting up in Grandview Heights, a report by Ohio-based Columbus Business First Friday said.

Just last month, Kitchen United announced it has secured $10 million in a funding round led by Google Ventures (GV), and was working with restaurant partners to start work on a Chicago-area facility that could open around January or February.

“We don’t cook. We don’t drive,” Kitchen United CEO Jim Collins told Columbus Business First as he described the setup. “All they have to do is bring the cooks.”

The restaurant operators who will rent space on the Ohio facility, called a “kitchen center,” will make their own food, and use delivery services such as DoorDash and UberEats to handle the pick-up and delivery. Kitchen United provides base kitchen equipment and can also handle receiving, cleaning and other back-of-the-house duties, depending on the terms of the lease.

Designed for pick-up and carry-out business only, Kitchen United has no brick-and-mortar restaurant for dine-in services. Instead, “we’re helping restaurants answer the explosion of off-premise dining,” Collins said.

The facility will house from 10 to 20 kitchen spaces for operators in about 15,000 square feet, with the rest of the space to be used as equipment storage.

The restaurant operators who will rent space on the Ohio facility, called a “kitchen center,” will make their own food, and use delivery services such as DoorDash and UberEats to handle the pick-up and delivery. Kitchen United provides base kitchen equipment and can also handle receiving, cleaning and other back-of-the-house duties, depending on the terms of the lease.

Designed for pick-up and carry-out business only, Kitchen United has no brick-and-mortar restaurant for dine-in services. Instead, “we’re helping restaurants answer the explosion of off-premise dining,” Collins said.

The report said Grandview Heights approved the company’s proposed use for the building and site plan, and work is set to begin with a spring 2019 opening targeted. The place used to be occupied by a light industrial-zoned printing business.

Kitchen United was founded in 2017 and opened its first unit in Pasadena in June 2018.

After the Chicago and Grandview Heights units, new locations could open next year in New York, Atlanta or Jersey City, Collins said in the report.

Kitchen United’s “kitchen centers” are facilities that can house 10 to 20 restaurants with commercial kitchens optimized specifically for the catering, delivery and takeout marketplace. The company creates turnkey solutions for restaurants and positions its kitchen facilities in areas where demand is high and the local restaurant infrastructure is strained by the influx of non-traditional business.

“Kitchen United’s data-driven approach to flexible kitchen spaces unlocks critical value for national, regional and local restaurant chains looking to expand into new markets,” GV board member and general partner Adam Ghobarah said in a statement.

The start-up introduced its first kitchen center in Pasadena in February, a 12,000-square-foot fully equipped kitchen space that leverages technology, including integrated point of sale software, back-of-house automation, and efficient order interfaces that combine inbounds from various delivery platforms, to enable new levels of efficiency for food businesses.

In March, the company appointed former Taco Bell executive Meredith Sandland as Chief Operating Officer. Sandland was Chief Development Officer at Taco Bell, where she added more than $1 billion in sales through the addition of 1,000 restaurants in just four years.

Kitchen United is currently based at 55 South Madison Avenue in Pasadena, and plans to expand to about 20 to 30 locations nationwide by the end of 2019.

To learn more about Kitchen United, visit www.kitchenunited.com.

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