We visited ex-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick's secret 'ghost kitchen' startup in San Francisco that was backed by $400 million from Saudi Arabia - take a look
- Ousted Uber cofounder Travis Kalanick has opened a San Francisco location for his CloudKitchens startup, a company that rents commercial space and turns it into shared kitchens for restaurateurs, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
- Kalanick's CloudKitchens concept is right in line with a growing trend in the food-delivery world that has restaurants and chefs turning to rentable kitchen stations in a shared space to prepare food for delivery instead of traditional brick-and-mortar locations.
- We paid the kitchen in San Francisco a visit to see what it's like. Check it out.
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Ousted Uber cofounder Travis Kalanick has pivoted from the ridesharing industry to another kind of shareable market: ghost kitchens.
As part of Kalanick's acquisition of real-estate company City Storage Systems, the startup CloudKitchens - which he's been rather hush-hush about - rents commercial space that offers delivery-only restaurants and chefs a place to prepare food without having to worry about maintaining the restaurant portion of a brick-and-mortar location.There are many names for these kitchens - commissary, virtual, dark, cloud, or ghost kitchens - but the idea is that restaurateurs can rent out space in them to prepare food that can then be delivered through platforms like DoorDash or, yes, UberEats, which was launched during Kalanick's time at the company.
Commissary kitchens are basically "WeWork for restaurant kitchens," as TechCrunch's Danny Crichton writes. These "smart kitchens," as they're called on the CloudKitchens website, can come with everything a restaurant or chef needs, like sinks, WiFi, and electricity.
They've become a hot trend in the food-delivery arena, allowing existing restaurants to be closer to a market without shelling out the cash needed for a traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant. They also allow chefs to work without having to embark on the risky business of opening a new restaurant.
And the kitchens can also do marketing for these businesses, which is another perk.
Kalanick's CloudKitchens is right in line with the growing trend, so much so that Saudi Arabia's sovereign-wealth fund funneled $400 million into the startup in January in what is the first known financial backing by the country since the murder of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
There are already CloudKitchens locations in Chicago and Los Angeles, but as reported by The Wall Street Journal's Rolfe Winkler and Rory Jones, a CloudKitchens location has been established in San Francisco's SoMa district, though when exactly is unclear. CloudKitchens did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment. The WSJ report states that the kitchen is located at 60 Morris St. Though you'll find with a quick Google search of "CloudKitchens San Francisco" that it doesn't necessarily want to be found.Nevertheless, we paid Kalanick's San Francisco ghost kitchen a visit to see what it's like. Check it out.