Virtual Restaurant Company CloudKitchens To Open Aztec Food Hub In San Diego's College Area

August 18, 2021

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 its second San Diego collective in the San Diego State University College Area.

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., with only some locations housing onsite dining area. Earlier this year, CloudKitchens opened its first San Diego outpost, dubbed the Barrio Food Hub, a 10,000 square-foot warehouse that will eventually house more than 50 eateries.

Known my various names such as "ghost" and "virtual" kitchens, commercial spaces like CloudKitchens give restaurants and chefs the chance to operate a business within a small space to prepare food without having to worry about the substantial costs of building out and 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 marketing assistance.

CloudKitchens has 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 second San Diego branch will be called the Aztex Food Hub and will house up to 30 unique restaurant concepts, possibly more, within a 9,000 square-foot former music store near San Diego State University. Tenants currently signed on include Spring Valley's 12-year-old Cali Comfort Barbecue, Thai-inspired chicken wings specialists Willie Wingz, and customizable Hawaiian poke bowl eatery Blue Poke.

Like other CloudKitchens location, the College area 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 will also be a kiosk to allow for walk-up take-out orders. Aztec Food Hub tenants will start to move in this September and concepts are expected to launch in early October. At least one more CloudKitchens outposts is expected to open in San Diego County.

Aztec Food Hub is located at 6334 El Cajon Boulevard in San Diego's College Area. For more information, visit