Diving letter:

  • Kitchen United will launch the British restaurant Camile Thai on the US market and license the tech-savvy Asian brand exclusively at Kitchen United’s MIX locations. according to the press release. The first Camile Thai opens in Kitchen United’s new Chicago Loop Kitchen Center, with further expansions planned this year in Chicago, Pasadena, California and Austin, Texas.
  • Camile Thai first opened in 2010 and now has 40 locations in the UK and Ireland.
  • Expanding through ghost kitchens could provide international brands with an entry point into the US that requires less capital than traditional brick and mortar locations, reducing financial risk. Some international restaurant concepts, such as Leon and The daily bread, for example, struggled after entering the American market.

Dive Insight:

Camiles Thai isn’t the only international concept that ghost kitchens are used to make an American debut. Lola’s Latin Food, a Canadian frozen food company based in Venezuela, recently announced that it is expanding into the US through Ghost Kitchen Brands, the virtual food court. at retailers like Walmart.

Ghost kitchen furnishings offer a strong value proposition for restaurants looking to increase their footprint with minimal investment. US Foods estimates that leasing a full facility like Kitchen United costs about $ 50,000 versus the $ 750,000 to $ 1.2 million it takes to open a small restaurant in an urban market.

“The rise of the on-demand economy has triggered a monumental change in traditional stationary restaurant service”, Camile Thai CEO Brody Sweeneyen said in a statement. “Last year saw the most significant rollout of technology in the history of our industry, with a focus on digital grocery ordering and delivery.”

Camile Thai is already delivery savvy, but this partnership could enhance its capabilities off-premises. The restaurant was, according to the press release, an early adopter of home delivery of hot meals and enables in collaboration with. the delivery of hot meals by drone in Europe Drone delivery startup Manna.

Leveraging a flexible Ghost kitchen model to offer a diversified portfolio of brands could be an effective way for Kitchen United to compete with competitors as the demand for delivery-only services grows. The room is getting crowded – JustKitchen, a ghost kitchen company based in Canada, plans to expand in the US this year, for example.

In a statement, Atul Sood, Kitchen United’s chief business officer, said the ghost kitchen company is constantly looking at new ways to support its restaurant partners, such as offering this licensing opportunity.

“While many new trends and ephemeral concepts have emerged over the past year as the popularity of ghost kitchens grew, Camile Thai offers long-term opportunity and value for operators looking to grow through a licensed model,” he said.