C3 (Creating Culinary Communities) — the food technology platform known for its physical and virtual food halls and the new Go by Citizens app — announced Thursday that TGI Friday’s, Hooters and PF Chang’s parent company TriArtisan Capital private equity investment firm invested $10 million in the company. This announcement comes as part of C3’s previous $80 million in Series B funding last month, led by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and Reef Technology.
With the partnership, TriArtisan hopes to bring C3’s 40+ virtual and physical brands to its restaurants and “expand kitchen utilization capacity” for a commissary-like ghost kitchen experience that would add on different menu options for customers. C3 estimates that a partnership would generate about $1 million in extra revenue for each restaurant.
“By turning physical kitchens digital and creating shared spaces, we are revolutionizing the food and beverage industry as we know it and having prominent industry leaders like TriArtisan Advisors recognize and support our vision will always feel like a game-changing moment for us,” Sam Nazarian, founder and CEO of C3 told Nation’s Restaurant News. “Our hope is that more national brands will recognize the opportunity the C3 business model brings, not only to the brands themselves due to incredible revenue potential but also to local communities who have an increased demand for quality food offerings, pickup and delivery options inspired by some of the world’s leading chefs.”
Currently, C3 operates in 250 digital kitchens nationwide, and this partnership will expand their virtual footprint greatly. Though Nazarian would not confirm which TriArtisan brands would participate, those that do will have access to the company’s digital food hall app, Go by Citizens, and customers will be able to order from multiple brands in one transaction and receive their food all at once. So, hypothetically, a customer could order wings from Hooters and sushi from Krispy Rice in one order.
“What C3 has built is brilliant,” Rohit Manocha, cofounder and managing director of TriArtisan Capital Advisors said in a statement. “The future of this industry lies in leveraging extra capacity in restaurant spaces to maximize all-day revenue potential. Furthermore, C3’s brands are resonating well with the increased buying power of younger generations, providing a road map for legacy brands to reinvent themselves.”
Nazarian plans to continue expanding their footprint and build out C3’s portfolio with new ghost kitchen concepts. Recent brand partnerships include Miami’s Cindy Lou Cookies and Los Angeles-based Soom Soom Fresh. He said they will be expanding into international markets soon, with a focus on the UK and Saudi Arabia
“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen a substantial rise in the number of restaurants who are not fully utilizing their kitchen spaces, and as rents and labor become more expensive, our digital kitchen model offsets those costs and sets restaurants up for a financially stable future,” Nazarian said. “Not only that, but our model gives restaurants the ability to provide more robust guest/customer-facing services, streamline internal services and maintain a low capital spend – all while providing an elevated dining experience.”
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