As food technology platforms seek to turn the rapid growth seen during the pandemic into long-term sustainability, many are rethinking the physical space. C3, for its part, announced an investment of $ 80 million earlier this month to increase its global presence and develop its technology, following a $ 100 million deal in June to bring 40 of its brands restaurants in Saudi Arabia. The company, which started with virtual restaurant concepts prepared in ghost kitchens, has established physical spaces for its brands, including omnichannel food lobbies. Now, the company believes that its model, integrating a wide range of catering concepts in small physical spaces, will become the norm.
“Food brands are starting to realize… that current food courts are severely underutilized and can generate a staggering amount of additional revenue from the ghost kitchen model,” C3 CEO Sam Nazarian told PYMNTS in a report. interview. “As we move into a post-pandemic era, we’re going to see many other brick-and-mortar concepts exploiting an additional eight to 10 brands of delivery only through ghost or digital kitchens.”
The ghost kitchen space is certainly growing, with large restaurant companies adding new virtual locations by the hundreds and adding new brands to their lists. Additionally, many restaurants use the delivery model only to test new concepts and locations without the capital expense traditionally associated with such a business. Meanwhile, consumer goods and food delivery service Gopuff has just announced its own delivery kitchens solely with the aim of integrating its offerings more deeply into the daily routines of consumers.
Take the world
The company is growing very rapidly in the United States, with this already rapid expansion accelerated by its recent partnership with the Point of Sale Integration (POS) company Chowly, which aims to grow C3’s digital brand locations in the United States to 1,000 by the end of 2021 and to 12,000 international locations by 2023.
“Introducing completely new restaurant brands to the market certainly presents challenges in any region – at home or abroad, for the first time,” said Nazarian. However, he said, given the “steadfast cult” that the company’s culinary brands have built in the United States, the company is “confident” in the ability of its brands to gain a foothold in the Middle East. and in North Africa (MENA).
He believes that the success of these restaurant brands in the region will be aided by the cultural cache of American food for many of the residents of those countries, especially those who may have traveled the world. Nazarian said, “Residents of the MENA region have developed an affinity for American-style fares through their international travel.”
Follow the path of Dodo
C3 does not believe that the traditional restaurant model will be viable in the future and that dining on site will only function as one of the many channels for food brands.
“Old restaurants will not be able to survive for years to come if they are not equipped to meet the dining demands of millennials and Gen Z,” he said, “so they will have to adapt their business models. and their current structures to be technological – moving forward to succeed.
For now, at least, the data suggests dinner is back. Open table reports that as of Tuesday, July 20, seats in the United States and around the world have fully recovered to 2019 levels. Yet consumers are looking for digital channels much more than they were before the pandemic. The PYMNTS study, The Bring-It-To-Me Economy: How Online Marketplaces And Aggregators Drive Omnichannel Commerce, created in collaboration with Carat through Fiserv, finds that nearly half of all consumers buy food from a restaurant’s website and have it delivered to their homes a little or much more often than before the pandemic.
“I expect more restaurants to focus on improving their technology in the coming years to create an equally immersive and personalized experience online and through delivery apps as they do at the restaurant itself.” Nazarian said.
New channels, new spaces
Nazarian believes the physical spaces of restaurants will transform to reflect “increased interest in delivery” which he says “will remain a culinary trend for some time.”
Indeed, the PYMNTS research of the July edition of Delivering On Restaurant Rewards, a PYMNTS and Paytronix The collaboration finds that 87 percent of financially well-off consumers and 90 percent of those whose finances are recovering plan to maintain some or all of their online ordering habits in the future.
He predicts that many restaurants will redesign their loading stations where drivers pick up delivery orders so that this process runs faster and doesn’t interrupt the flow of customers to the store. Additionally, he believes pickup stations will undergo a similar overhaul that will reflect the growing space the channel takes up in many brands’ sales mixes.
He predicted, “A lot of times a take out or take out section was an afterthought thrown into a corner, and we expect them to take up even more space in future dining spaces.”
With these physical updates, the physical spaces of omnichannel-driven restaurants can begin to reflect the radical changes that the digital shift has brought to the industry.