A California-based company that provides professional kitchen space to restaurants for the preparation of delivery-only meals is expanding to the Dallas area with three locations. The Kitchen United MIX concept, which opened Wednesday inside Kroger BB #:100073 on East Mockingbird Lane in Dallas, operates like a virtual food court within the grocery store and offers guests a way to mix and match orders from various restaurant brands for pickup or delivery.

The two-year old start-up is a leader in the ghost kitchen trend, a phenomenon that has grown amid the pandemic drain on many traditional restaurants and has received substantial investment from Google Ventures (now called GV), Divco West and RXR Realty, among others. It has amassed a $50 million war chest and aims to establish more than 200 locations this year.

Founded in 2017, Kitchen United provides professional kitchen space and other infrastructure to restaurants for the preparation of delivery-only menu items. It enables customers to order from multiple restaurant brands via online, mobile or in-person ordering kiosks and have the orders prepared by the participating restaurants for pickup or delivery, which are delivered by third-party delivery services. The firm charges an administrative fee to the restaurants for use of the kitchen space, while delivery service fees are set by the providers.

For the eateries, joining Kitchen United’s roster entails less risk than opening a full-service restaurant because startup costs are significantly lower. For example, the Fresh Brothers pizza chain was able to open at a Kitchen United MIX location in Pasadena for under $30,000, which is about a fifth of what it would cost to start its own store.

MIX features national and local restaurant brands such as Caliburger, B-town Breakfast Sandwiches, CRUST Cakes, HULA HULI Chicken platter, Jailbird wings & tenders, Wild Rice Asian Kitchen, Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop, Dog Haus, Curry Up Now, Plant B, Badd-Ass Breakfast Burritos and more. The new concept also includes a full-service bar serving drinks and snacks.

Customers can order from the restaurants housed at MIX through their respective third-party delivery apps or Kitchen United’s platform, which allows them to mix and match orders from different restaurant brands on a single bill for pickup or delivery. Those who prefer to dine on-site can do so at the location’s customer-friendly pickup counter or in-store seating options.

Kitchen United MIX’s Frisco location at 9506 TX-121 will feature a similar setup as the Kroger BB #:100073 in Dallas, with an onsite customer pickup center and a range of seating options available. Kitchen United plans to open a free-standing MIX location in Plano, Texas, next month and a standalone kitchen in downtown Dallas later this year. The company has also been working to develop a new technology-driven, high-tech location in Los Angeles and is slated for an opening in Austin, Texas this fall. Kitchen United is backed by a $30 million investment from GV, RXR and Divco West. It is also backed by private equity investors including Summit Partners and Guggenheim Partners.

By Hai Kai