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Uber’s Travis Kalanick Branches Out Into Mobile Payments-Friendly Food Delivery Kitchens

February 19, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

We’ve seen a lot of exciting advancements come out of the food delivery sector in recent days, and we all know how closely connected the food delivery and mobile payments markets are. So when word emerged that Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick was looking to ramp up a network of food delivery kitchens known as CloudKitchens, it was definitely a move that called for some closer examination.

The reports surrounding the development say that Kalanick is actually looking to bottle lightning similar to Uber, and in doing so, he’s brought in many of the same Leyden jars, by which I mean the earliest hires at Uber. CloudKitchens is targeting the growing food delivery market, as evidenced not only by Uber itself—or at least its Uber Eats branch—but also Deliveroo and GrubHub, among others.

Kalanick has been keeping comparatively quiet about how CloudKitchens will work and similar matters, but reports suggest it traces back to Kalanick’s $150 million purchase of City Storage Solution via the 10100 investment fund. 10100 was created with $1.4 billion that came from the sale of Uber stock, so CloudKitchens owes much of its existence—in both concept and resources—to Uber.

Essentially, CloudKitchens will function as a kind of cloud-based kitchen operation, or even a “kitchen-as-a-service” system where restaurants will be able to take advantage of these facilities to produce food for delivery. This isn’t a unique prospect; Deliveroo actually refers to these operations as “dark kitchens,” and has been working to develop them for some time now.

Actually making the food to address delivery demands has been a problem for some time now, and with regulations involved in food production—seriously, there’s a whole subsector of state and federal regulations surrounding food preparation—so having kitchens on hand that meet federal standards and are readily available for use might be the answer to the delivery question. It may answer a few other questions as well, but that’s a lot less germane to the mobile payments concept.

Kalanick’s idea here, meanwhile, should help put a lot of extra food service operations in play, and give us even more delivery options going forward, always welcome news. Now if we can just get that delivery drone mess figured out too….