C3’s Sam Nazarian Talks Purchase of Kitchen United Assets, Outlook on Ghost Kitchen Space

Sam Nazarian, CEO of digital restaurant company C3 and sbe hospitality group, has acquired Kitchen United’s IP (intellectual property) and ghost kitchen-related assets. 

Once a leader in the ghost kitchen space, Kitchen United shuttered its physical locations late last year. The virtual commissary operator combined elements of delivery technology, real estate and virtual restaurant brands in its operations model. With the sale of physical assets to C3, Kitchen United will pivot to a software business.

The move follows Nazarian’s purchase of Nextbite last June, which created and ran virtual brands out of existing restaurant kitchens. 

In an interview with Food On Demand, Nazarian said he admired Nextbite and Kitchen United’s journey to “change the virtual culinary industry” but that “the music stopped on the equity side” for these companies. 

Introducing Everybody Eats 

That’s when Nazarian stepped in, scooping up the companies and combining the entities with C3 to form the group Everybody Eats. 

Everybody Eats is a CPG and culinary brands company targeting millennials, Gen Z and LatinX demographics with, “Chef-driven concepts, brands created and powered by celebrities and high-quality restaurant brands.”

sbe and C3 founder Sam Nazarian has acquired Kitchen United’s assets and IP.

To help run the new group, Geoff Madding, the former Nextbite Chief Growth Officer was appointed as COO. 

“What we want to be known for is the innovation around connecting to new audiences,” said Nazarian. 

When asked for thoughts on expanding in the ghost kitchen and virtual restaurant space amid the sector facing its fair share of challenges over the past few years, he explains, “We are not a ghost kitchen company, rather a brand IP company.” 

“A lot of ghost kitchen companies and investments went into that world in 2020-2022, and a lot didn’t work out. But I think for us, the idea is the correct idea, like anything else it’s all about execution and differentiation.” 

“The physical idea of just putting brands through a ghost kitchen, maybe should have never really been,” said Nazarian addressing companies that have faltered. “But creating new IP, targeting  the fastest growing demographics in our communities, and licensing them to huge amounts of underutilized infrastructure…that is the future of food,” he added.

Everybody Eats brands will inhibit various industries, including supermarkets, convenience stores, casual dining hospitality, hotels, airports and more. “All within a brand amplification platform.” 

“Delivery is a very small component of what we’re doing. This is about bringing that audience back in an authentic way, back into these amazing brands that used to be disrupters on their own, but now have amazing scale,” he said. 

Connecting brands to new audiences 

Known for cultivating its brands such as Krispy Rice and Soom Soom supported by C3 technology platform, Nazarian and his team work with a group of international chefs, creating proprietary brands available in customer-facing verticals—including C3’s Citizen’s food halls in Atlanta and New York.

Last year’s deal with Nexbite brought in over 20 company-made virtual brands, such as Packed Bowls by Wiz Khalifa. But of most significance was gaining Nextbite’s relationships with hundreds of small and medium-sized restaurants that currently fulfill its brands—and the enterprise partnerships with TGI Fridays and IHOP.

In Kitchen United, Nazarian gained relationships with grocery store Kroger where the company once operated ghost kitchens and with Circle K convenience. Nazarian said that’s what he is most excited about, continuing those relationships and the potential to scale food brands through those platforms. 

Upcoming plans are to continue expanding Everybody’s Eats’ footprint. Nazarian foreshadowed “four or five big announcements” coming soon with entrepreneurs with a large following. Most recently, the company formed an equity partnership with musician Marc Anthony and his company Magnus as well as a partnership with actress Sofia Vergara to launch the LatinX brand TOMA. 

Additionally, he highlighted the opening of a large food hall in London and expansion within Florida’s Chase Stadium. He is also looking at further scaling food brands into sbe’s hotel partnerships with HQ hotels and in 9,000-plus Wyndham locations. 

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