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Kitchen United aims to be the WeWork + Amazon Prime of the fast-growing delivery-only kitchen industry. By 2020, delivery will account for 40% of total restaurant industry sales – up form a small fraction of that a few years ago. This trend has food establishments scrambling to figure out how to boost delivery sales without overburdening kitchens and staff, or causing delays for in-restaurant diners. Kitchen United (KU) solves these pain points by offering shared delivery-only kitchen space, lower costs and access to the latest robotic, AI and other tech solutions.
The company is already in discussions with some of North America’s largest and fastest growing dining chains and their real estate investment arms that select, acquire, build out and lease them back their new locations to fuel their growth. KU plans to sprint from their single location Pasadena HQ, into a second location on LA’s Westside in 1H’18, to multiple locations from which it will serve all of Los Angeles. In parallel, KU will develop the playbook and raise the capital to expand into major metros across the USA!
KU has ample seed-capital from veteran entrepreneurs and strategic investors and is in its early stages of development – with all that implies from a startup standpoint.
What it will take to Win this Race
The nascent “Kitchen-as-a-Service” market will be highly fragmented and the winner will need these three key strengths:
- A keen chef/restaurant sensibility and native DNA: KU must speak their language and understand the chaotic, high-pressure environment in which they operate. KU’s founding team has nearly half a century of deep restaurant expertise and a network to match!
- Ability to scale real estate & capital: KU must master site selection, negotiation, build-out and possible leaseback of highly cost effective real estate. The selected CEO will benefit from an aggressive set of founding investors able to syndicate these capital requirements—so long as the right CEO can deliver the pitch!
- Technology: This includes software to make it all work smoothly, a tech stack for multi-channel customer acquisition, mobile apps and in the future, restaurant robotics, advanced AI and autonomous delivery. KU”s sister company Miso Robotics is proof of the company’s commitment to being on the leading edge.
This is a rare opportunity for the right leader to develop an early stage business with visionary founders/investors. You’ll work with what is still largely a “blank canvas” and have an immediate impact on the business. You’ll build a team and culture in your own image and bring innovation to an industry ripe for disruption! The selected CEO will be full-time (when not on a plane) in KU’s Pasadena headquarters.
- Strategy and Planning. Own the business plan, financial model, investor decks and the organizational as well as facilities build-out. Lead the strategy and planning for all aspects of the business.
- Raise Capital! KU’s ultimate success and scale will be fueled by plenty of equity and debt. The CEO will have plenty of support here from the board and founding investors.
- P&L Management: Provide strategic direction and coordinate related operations to hit financial targets. Ensure that each area that supports the business is operating according to plan while continuing to seek new growth opportunities.
- Product Development: Work with the founders and launch team to create an execution plan to launch a new delivery-only kitchen brand and define its positioning and UVP. This includes operational flows, back of the house infrastructure and software and consumer and restaurant-facing mobile apps.
- Sales & Business Development: Direct partnerships with both restaurant brands and real estate financing/development entities while being responsible for managing overall operating revenue performance.
- Board Communication: Cultivate a strong, transparent working relationship with the Board and ensure open communication of financial, programmatic, and impact performance results against stated milestones, including formal reports.
- 3rd Party Management: Work with functional leaders to negotiate and manage numerous agreements with partners, consultants and vendors.
- Leader & Team Builder Professional Manager and Leader with a documented track record of building and leading high performance teams. Demonstrated ability to assess, recruit and develop talent.
- Need a world-class Operator vs. someone who is a serial founder. Highly organized multi-tasker who can simultaneously raise capital while driving product development, creative direction, business development strategy, marketing and operations.
- Bankable! It is not a requirement that KU’s CEO has raised rounds of capital and brings a following of prior investors—but it sure wouldn’t hurt. The individual must have the presence, the confidence and gravitas to seduce the absolute best institutional and strategic investors
- Startup vs. Corporate. Been on lean & scrappy teams in early stage startups that solved product-market fit. Not afraid to get hands dirty!
- Logistics matters. Prefer experience with physical goods, supply chain and delivery logistics, but on-demand services require complex logistics as well. KU is much less or not interested in pure digital media, ad-tech/agency arbitrage where the model is all bits and no atoms
- Confident and compelling Communicator. Polished presenter with the poise and gravitas to evangelize the KU story with prospective investors, partners, employees and influencers.
- Company Pedigree and career choices matter. The KU Board is influenced by prior experience in successful (ideally hyper growth) companies that have scaled and become category leaders.