- Kitchen United and Simon Property Group, a real estate investment trust known for its shopping mall investments, are partnering to open a concept called "Grab Go Eat," the companies announced Thursday. Facilitated by Kitchen United Mix, the initiative will let restaurants and food vendors grow their reach within shopping malls and offer off-premise service.
- The concept allows diners to order from multiple restaurants in a single transaction via Kitchen United's kiosks, website or app. Orders can be picked up from restaurants or on-premise food lockers or delivered to tables or any store within the mall. A pickup center similar to a drive-thru also allows on-the-go diners and delivery drivers to collect their orders and leave the mall.
- Grab Go Eat debuted Thursday at the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, New York, and is expanding to a mall in Torrance, California later this month. Kitchen United CEO Michael Montagano said the partnership gives the ghost kitchen a chance to bring its technology to new, large markets.
Kitchen United worked toward forging a partnership with Simon for about a year, Montagano said, building on the ghost kitchen's broader push into retail spaces.
"Our growth strategy is that we tend to be very measured and deliberate," Montagano said. "We like to partner with larger national partners that offer opportunities for scale, but also the operational thoughtfulness that someone like Simon brings to the table."
The company teamed with the Westfield Valley Fair, the largest retail destination in Northern California, in February 2021 and partnered with Kroger in August — giving Kitchen United the necessary operational experience to pursue larger retail environments. Simon's scale offers Kitchen United a plethora of opportunities to grow and experiment through the mall restaurants that opt in to Kitchen United's package.
"[Orders are] aggregated into an expo center, similar to how it operates in our kitchen centers, as well as how it operates within our Kroger stores. It's the same underlying technology, but used in this much larger footprint of the Simon mall," Montagano said.
Kitchen United's value proposition offers mall restaurants incremental order volume, Montagano said, adding that the Grab Go Eat model can improve efficiency as well.
"We're expediting those orders to a more convenient pickup area to take that strain and that interaction out of their front of house so they can focus more on cooking, as well as the guests that are dining in the food pavilion," he said.
Pickup lockers have proven popular in the Westfield location where Kitchen United first deployed its mall technology, Montagano said. Mall workers especially have taken to ordering food and picking it up from lockers to maximize their lunch breaks. The Grab Go Eat model only requires a handful of employees to expedite orders by bringing them to pickup lockers, or to the pickup center where drivers can retrieve to-go orders.