Uber’s Kalanick enters London takeaway food market

Josh Hall's picture

A new business from scandal-hit former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is expanding into London for the first time.

City Storage Systems, in which Kalanick invested $150 million last year, has bought London firm FoodStars, a startup eyeing the growing market for delivery-only food outlets.

FoodStars is one of a growing number of firms focusing on the “dark kitchen” market, in which kitchen space is provided to caterers that exist only on delivery platforms like Deliveroo, rather than operating a brick-and-mortar retail site.

The FT reports that FoodStars already has more than 100 commercial kitchens around the capital.

City Storage Systems, based in LA, buys up cheap and distressed real estate and puts them in the service of disruptive digital businesses.

The ‘dark kitchen’ model has been enabled by delivery platforms such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats. Caterers using the model operate out of commercial kitchens without dedicated retail space, often located in industrial sites outside of the otherwise expensive but popular areas of cities like London.

In 2017 a Guardian investigation into dark kitchens visited some of the 11 sites operated by Deliveroo alone at the time, hosting 66 kitchens of this sort.

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