Kitchen United reinvents the California mall as a food delivery hub

Ghost kitchen operator Kitchen United announced a partnership with a northern California mall last week to help restaurant tenants reach off-premises customers via delivery.

At Westfield Valley Fair in Santa Clara, Calif., Kitchen United also installed a mall-wide pickup locker system – the largest retail destination in Northern California – that allows restaurants to deliver food. food closer to the roughly 8,500 mall workers scattered across the space.

Key to implementing the partnership is the deployment of Kitchen United’s MIX technology, which will allow customers to combine menu items from multiple restaurants into one order. The technology has undergone extensive testing at other Kitchen United locations, said Atul Sood, commercial director of Kitchen United, based in Pasadena, Calif.

The announcement parallels the recent launch of the CitizensGO mobile app from multi-concept restaurant developer C3 (Creating Culinary Communities), another growing ghost food operator. This technology also brings together item orders from multiple restaurant concepts to a shared location into one order.

Kitchen United’s MIX ordering system, left, which consumers access through the Ghost Kitchen chain website, helps synchronize the output of each individual restaurant so that orders are completed together and hot food stays hot , cold food stays cold, product integrity is maintained, Sood explained.

“It’s not easy to do,” he said. “We need to have operational focus and, on top of that, collect food at the right time. “

Kitchen United will have its own staff on site to help coordinate the production of orders through close communications with the various restaurants. Kitchen United employees will also deliver completed orders for mall workers to lockers, which Sood says are also designed to maintain proper temperatures. Mall employees can order at participating restaurants through an employee app.

In addition to the implementation of MIX technology, the partnership will also include a unique system of conveyor belts that will transport completed orders to a designated pickup station, adjacent to the parking lot, to serve third-party delivery drivers.

Sood said the mall is so large that drivers probably should have spent 20 minutes walking back and forth to restaurants in the mall to collect orders. Instead, the conveyor system will allow drivers to collect their orders around three minutes after arriving, he said.

Kitchen United and Westfield have been discussing the potential partnership since before the pandemic began last year, Sood said. He declined to discuss details of the financial relationship with the mall operator, but said participating restaurants and Kitchen United would jointly invest to market the restaurants’ offerings to consumers in the area.

“For restaurants, this opens up a new source of additional revenue and efficiency gains that benefit their existing revenue channels,” he said.

MIX_at_Westfield_Sign.jpegThe MIX service will be promoted with visual material inside the mall, on the left, and shoppers can also order through kiosks parked in multiple malls. The MIX service will be promoted using digital channels to consumers in the delivery area.

“Our partnership with Kitchen United offers customers a convenient new way to experience their favorite dishes on the go, while increasing revenues for our partner restaurants,” said Kate Diefenderfer, Marketing Director for Westfield Valley Fair, in a statement. “With the ability to order from multiple restaurants simultaneously, regardless of their location, restaurants have the ability to capitalize on take-out demand, while our customers benefit from a personalized dining experience. “

Kitchen United hosted a smooth launch with a select group of partner restaurants in the mall, which Sood says is being expanded to include additional operators.

According to the restaurant directory on the mall’s website, the MIX service is currently available for orders from Koja Kitchen, Loving Hut Vegan Cuisine, Pizza My Heart, Men Oh Ramen, Haagen Dazs, Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon, and Ms. Fields. Restaurants listed as “coming soon” to service include Big Fish, Little Fish, Pokeatery, and Share Tea. The website lists 56 total dining destinations in the mall.

MIX’s implementation at Westfield Valley Fair follows the recently announced launch of the technology in the Chicago Loop neighborhood, where customers can order items from a collection of multiple restaurant brands at a Kitchen United location there. . Other locations listed on the Kitchen United website where MIX service is available are Pasadena; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Austin, Texas.

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Peggy P. Gilmore