- C3 has received new capital from Abu Dhabi Capital Group, Arden Digital Ventures and Clearlake Capital Group. The investment total was not disclosed in a press release emailed to Restaurant Dive on Tuesday.
- The company will use the new funding to grow its virtual restaurants and brick-and-mortar locations in U.S. and United Arab Emirates markets. Targeted sectors in the U.S. include hotels and sports stadiums, as well as additional cities and suburbs.
- C3 secured $10 million in October from Switzerland-based Lurra Capital AG, and $80 million in Series B funding in July 2021 led by Brookfield Asset Management and Reef Technology. TGI Fridays’ parent company TriArtisan Capital Advisors also contributed $10 million to the latter round.
The number of investors contributing to C3’s funding rounds may suggest confidence in the company’s model and growth plan. C3’s diversified portfolio of both brick-and-mortar and virtual locations may also better insulate the platform from slowed growth in the virtual restaurant and ghost kitchen space. Nextbite and Reef, for example, have both recently reported layoffs within their companies.
Currently, C3 owns more than 45 brands across at least 800 U.S. locations that include brick-and-mortar restaurants, food halls and hotels. The company recently opened its first physical location in Manhattan that features celebrity chefs, and also has plans to open physical locations in Miami, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia and California. In July 2021, the company said it was it is on track to open 12,000 kitchens globally by 2023.
“As a result of our undoubted success and to keep pace with consumer demand, it’s imperative we continually and tactically expand our presence,” C3 CEO and founder Sam Nazarian said in a statement. “Through our strategic alignment with Abu Dhabi Capital Group, Arden Digital Ventures, and Clearlake Capital Group, we are able to not only maintain our expansion rate and scale as needed but also exceed expectations and continue to establish C3 as a leader in the food tech industry.”
C3’s newest funding round should help beef up the company’s presence at home and abroad. Abu Dhabi Capital Group’s investment plans will introduce C3 brands to the UAE region, including the new Umami Burger menu from Chef Alvin Cailan, according to the release. It will also add support to C3’s partnership with ghost kitchen platform Kitopi to bring its brands across the region.
In the U.S., C3 wants to expand its presence in commercial real estate developments and hotels, the latter of which should provide a strong consumer base that could fuel more awareness and demand. Hotel occupancy rates reached their highest levels since February 2020 in May 2021. Additionally, C3 notes its partnership with Clearlake Capital Group and its subsidiary Victory Live will provide opportunities around Victory Live’s ticketing and events business for C3’s brands, which currently each generate about $1 million per outlet.
Recent executive shuffling comes amid this growth, however. Though Pasha Mehran’s LinkedIn still lists him as C3’s chief strategy officer, a C3 spokesperson said he is no longer with the company.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly described Pasha Mehran’s relationship with C3. He is no longer the company’s chief strategy officer.