Virtual food hall provides one-stop shop for Toronto pizzerias, restaurants and bakeries
By Bakers JournalProducts New Products
Kitchen Hub is a virtual food hall and shared facility that provides takeout and delivery from Toronto’s restaurants all in one order with one delivery or pickup.
It was created by Adam Armeland, chief executive officer, and Oren Borovitch, chief operations officer, to fill a need for access to quality food quickly and conveniently while satisfying multiple dietary restrictions and cravings within one household.
Kitchen Hub is a shared facility that provides dedicated turnkey kitchen space designed for efficient takeout and delivery. It has two locations: one in Etobicoke at The Queensway and Islington Avenue and one in Toronto’s East end at Parliament and Shuter streets. A third location is set to open in December at Castlefield Avenue and Dufferin Street.
The concept gives the food hall’s surrounding neighbourhoods access to restaurants that previously were not in the delivery zone. Restaurants are provided with the infrastructure and services – including front-of-house and facility management – to serve customers in new neighbourhoods while maintaining control of their food production.
Customers can order from each individual restaurant or a combined menu made up of select restaurants. Each Kitchen Hub location has different restaurant partners that is designed in response to the take-out and delivery options available in the surrounding neighbourhood. Restaurant partners across all locations include Pai, Chatime, Piano Piano, Victory Burger + Pizza, Gusto 101, Impact Kitchens, Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen, Fresh, Cheesecake Factory Bakery, Le Dolci Bakery, Greenhouse Juice Co., Daan Go Macron Café and Kawartha Dairy Ice Cream.
Delivery and pickup from Kitchen Hub is available via KitchenHub.com or third-party delivery services UberEats, SkiptheDishes and DoorDash.
“Piano Piano focused more heavily on takeout and delivery when the pandemic hit and saw a tremendous uptake from its customer base. Chef Barry noticed emerging trends in takeout and delivery and answered with the launch of two virtual brands out of the Piano Piano space on Harbord Street. Victory Pizza, one of his virtual brands, has won acclaim in its Sicilian Style Pizza – and their pizza.
As dining rooms reopened, Chef Barry realized that he would need to refocus on in-person dining as we adjusted to changing regulations, therefore, having less capacity for his latest venture, Victory Foods.
The Kitchen Hub team approached Chef Barry about bringing his team on board. He joined Kitchen Hub’s Toronto East location. This way, he could continue the growth of Victory Foods while he navigates reopening in-person dining at Piano Piano.
Barry said he was able to open a new restaurant in a location serving a new trade area for a fraction of the up-front costs, turnkey service and all of the profit margin of running a successful dine-in establishment. Within a few weeks of signing up to Kitchen Hub, Victory Pizza, Victory Burgers and Piano Piano had a new location at Kitchen Hub East and were already off to a great start.
Knowing that pizza loses heat faster than most other food and its delicate nature requires special thermal bags and careful handling, Kitchen Hub has developed a proprietary model and tech stack to ensure that all food, including pizza, is delivered to the customer at the high-quality level intended. “One of the measures we take is our mandatory thermal bag policy for all orders picked up by third-party couriers as well as offering thermal bags for sale for couriers who don’t already have them,” said a spokesperson for Kitchen Hub.
“We are bringing our restaurant partners into the world of on-demand e-commerce and view our role as shepherds helping them figure out how to play in this new area in the restaurant industry both inside our spaces and in their other locations as well.
“Piano Piano’s first month at Kitchen Hub – in fact, it is the best launch we have seen yet, eclipsing those of restaurants who started with us before the pandemic and are doing $2 million in annual revenue currently. This is a really positive indicator that the delivery and takeout growth that came out of the pandemic is here to stay. The hottest items so far include Piano Piano’s dinner for two and all of the desserts.”
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