A downtown Vancouver project is cooking up a new way to serve restaurants.
Once complete, Club Kitchen will offer 13 private and fully equipped, turnkey kitchens in a single location that also provides shared management and reduced start-up, purchasing and operating costs. The facility is being planned for Yaletown at The Arc (988 Expo Blvd.).
The idea is being developed by Terry Hui, CEO of Concord Pacific, and is being led by JJ Fraser and Hugh Carbery, two restaurant industry leaders with extensive experience managing and launching restaurant brands across North America.
“It’s a creative use of real estate and tech. It would certainly reduce barriers to entry for new food entrepreneurs and let them focus on their food concepts,” said Hui in a press release.
Fraser explained the delivery-focused kitchen spaces range from 200 square feet to 350 square feet. They have been designed by chefs for chefs, with most permits and insurance already in place. He noted tenants won’t have to navigate the lengthy and complicated processes of designing, constructing and opening a restaurant. Operators can get cooking and generating profits immediately instead of waiting months or years.
“The typical model is there are one or two central cooking areas where all the major equipment is housed and then everyone gets their own prep station,” he said. “We wanted to make this different. Each unit is self-sufficient and enclosed.”
Fraser explained much like a small food truck kitchen, each unit has its own cooking area, sink dishwasher and more. They also have their own hood vent and fire suppression systems.
But it wasn’t easy. The team had to make sure the building will have enough power for each unit and had to maximize every bit of space using high-tech appliances and wall mounted shelves.
For example, each unit will have a compact combi oven from RATIONAL which can steam, blanch, poach, bake, roast, sear, fry, grill, smoke, sous-vide, overnight cook and more.
“It allows us to use something that would take up three different types of ovens but it’s all in one,” said Fraser.
The team also doesn’t know what food will be cooked in each unit, so they need to be able to take anything that’s thrown at it.
“Our ideal operator is maybe a restaurant brand that already exists outside of downtown Vancouver that wants a footprint in a premium location,” he said. “But they don’t want to spend downtown dollars on building that out. We provide the option to get into a space for $50,000 which takes care of all capital expenses and lowers the entry point and risk for a premium location.”
He noted the traditional route costs $300,000 to 500,000. Permitting and construction processes can take months.
The project team stated Club Kitchen already has strategic partnerships with suppliers such as Sysco, Gordon Food Services, Foodbuy Canada, Russell Hendrix, and Procter & Gamble, and delivery companies such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, and SkipTheDishes.
Club Kitchen’s in-house concierge team will assist the restaurants with order management and fulfillment and handle all the front-of-house operations like food handoffs, logistics and building services maintenance.
Through POS technology, operators will be able to manage their delivery orders from multiple platforms with a single, centralized tablet and be in complete control of their data, including payment solutions, order tracking and more.
Once permits are in place and construction begins, the team plans to have the facility open this fall.
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