Los Angeles-Based Virtual Restaurant Company CloudKitchens To Open San Diego Location

November 2, 2020

Founded by the former CEO of ride-share giant Uber, CloudKitchens is rapidly expanding its "virtual" restaurant kitchen locations across the United States and will soon launch a 10,000 square-foot "ghost kitchen" hub in San Diego that will house approximately 50 eateries. 

In 2018, Uber cofounder and former CEO Travis Kalanick invested $150 million in a startup called City Storage Systems, which bases its business on repurposing under-utilized real estate buildings to become spaces for new industry sectors, such as online food delivery. The following year, City Storage founded CloudKitchens, which now has more than 40 locations across the country, including in metropolises like New York City, San Francisco, Nashville, Philadelphia, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, and several in Los Angeles. Once CloudKitchens renovates and outfits its buildings, it then leases spaces to national chain and independent food purveyors for "virtual" take-out & delivery-exclusive eateries that do the majority of their business via online delivery apps like UberEats, Postmates, GrubHub, Doordash, etc. Only some locations house onsite dining areas, but that all may change depending on the progress of continued COVID-19 restrictions around the country. 

Known my various names such as "ghost" and "virtual" kitchens, commercial spaces like CloudKitchens give restaurants and chefs the opportunity to operate a business within a small space to prepare food without having to worry about the substantial costs of maintaining a dine-in, brick-and-mortar restaurant. With CloudKitchen, operators can launch an eatery on online delivery apps or use the space to prepare their food products for area farmers markets, which greatly reduces overhead costs. Described as a "WeWork for restaurants", CloudKitchens offer its tenants fully outfitted kitchen spaces that come with everything a restaurant or chef would need, including cooking equipment, sinks, hoods, WiFi, and sometimes even marketing assistance. 

CloudKitchens has seemingly tried to separate its parent company from each of its more than 40 properties, using names like "Food Center" and "Food Nest" for its locations. The San Diego branch will be called the Barrio Food Hub and will house up to 50 unique restaurant concepts, possibly more, within a 10,000 square-foot warehouse at 2707 Boston Avenue in Barrio Logan. Tenants currently signed on include San Diego-based Biggie's Burgers & Fries, which has locations in Pacific Beach and San Clemente; El Arabachi, a Japanese hibachi concept with three California locations; and Spring Valley's 12-year-old Cali Comfort Barbecue. Other concepts currently signed on include Cultivated Greens, Little Chef Chinese, Willie Wingz, Falafel California, Village Kitchen, Bird N Bun, The Omelette Factory, Nicolosi's Pizza House,  SugarBears, and Out of Towners.

The average kitchen size at Barrio Food Hub is 200 square-feet and each unit comes with a private kitchen equipped with a nine foot exhaust hood, three compartment sink, hand sink, prep sink, brand new gas and plumbing connections, and floor drain. Rent for a unit starts at at $3,750 per month, plus utilities and extras. Like other CloudKitchens location, the San Diego branch will have a central pick-up window and tablets for delivery drivers to sign in, a large flatscreen listing order updates, and a waiting area with onsite bathrooms for drivers. There may also be a kiosk to allow for walk-up take-out orders. Barrio Food Hub tenants will start to move in as early as mid-November, and concepts are not expected to launch until early 2021. Based on the success of the first location, up to 2 more CloudKitchens outposts are expected to open in San Diego County.