Travis Kalanick, the Uber co-founder, is busy with his next venture, reportedly working behind the scenes to create a network of food delivery kitchens around the world.
According to a report in The Financial Times, the new venture is called CloudKitchens. Kalanick is recruiting some of the earliest Uber hires for the new business in an effort to grow quickly. The idea is to capitalize on the trend toward food delivery thanks to the likes of Uber Eats, GrubHub and Deliveroo. The paper noted that in March Kalanick paid $150 million for City Storage Solution, the parent of CloudKitchens, via is his 10100 investment fund. The $1.4 billion fund was created via a sale of Uber stock. Since acquiring City Storage Solution, Kalanick has been quiet about the business he would pursue with the acquisition. He went as far as to prevent people he was recruiting from publicizing their new jobs on social media including LinkedIn.
People with direct knowledge of the executive’s plan said Kalanick wants to expand the U.S. business into Asia and Europe, visiting the U.K. last year. The report noted that CloudKitchen recruiters have been reaching out to people in London that have operations experience. A launch in the U.K. could come in the next few months. Through the venture, CloudKitchen will provide the extra capacity to restaurants that are having a tough time contending with all the demand for food delivery. It will also help them expand their business in a particular city. The venture also includes software to help the restaurants manage their inventory and integrate with food delivery platforms. In Los Angeles there are several delivery-only type restaurants that are using the company’s services, noted the report.
The company argues that its services provide a lower-cost way for restaurants to meet the demand instead of leasing and creating their own offsite facilities to prepare the food. The report noted that Deliveroo has also looked at this, creating what the company calls “dark kitchens,” in some instances using shipping containers.