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Recipe Unlimited Launching Cross-Canada Multi-Brand Virtual Kitchens Expansion

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Recipe Unlimited, Canada’s largest full-service restaurant company, has launched its second multi-branded takeout and delivery-focused concept restaurant, Ultimate Kitchens, in Toronto.

The company opened its first location in March.

The new location, which opened last month, features a fully-integrated digital guest takeout and delivery experience. The participating brands across the two locations include a combination of Swiss Chalet, New York Fries, Harvey’s, East Side Mario’s, Montana’s BBQ, and partner concepts Fresh, Bento Sushi, and Blondies Pizza.

The Goal is to Provide Consumers With Access to Under-Serviced Concepts & Cuisines

Ultimate Kitchen logo
Ultimate Kitchens logo

Ultimate Kitchens said it will provide consumers with access to a variety of concepts under-serviced or not available in their local neighbourhood.

“Ultimate Kitchens brings our iconic brands, partner concepts and new cuisines to the homes of more Canadians while providing guests with a one-stop dining marketplace, combining meal variety, quality, value and speed in a single, effortless order. Our new prototype creates a fully digital takeout ordering experience, adding a new channel for guests to conveniently pick up food faster than what they’re accustomed to. Takeout or delivery, you can either enjoy the brands individually or mix and match to get exactly what you want in a single order,” said Frank Hennessey, CEO, Recipe Unlimited.

“This concept represents a significant opportunity for future growth and expansion for Recipe in Canada and beyond our borders. It’s on-point with the shift in consumer behaviour while enabling Recipe to serve markets where it may otherwise be cost prohibitive to build a traditional restaurant. The focus on takeout and delivery will enable us to better serve our guests in these communities.

Recipe Unlimited intends to have a national presence with as many as 12 locations by the end of 2021.

Yianni Fountas, Senior Director, Emerging Brands & Partnerships, Strategic Projects and Business Insights, Recipe Unlimited Corporation, said the first location was a delivery only concept.

“It was our first real crack at exploring the world of “virtual kitchens”, but our plan has always been to move towards a takeout and delivery marketplace model for our guests,” he said, adding that the first location was set up to test and get the operational side of the business up and running.”

Click for interactive Google Map of new Ultimate Kitchens location.

“The second location, which opened in November, features a fully immersive digital takeout experience. Ultimate Kitchens provides a one-stop shop for guests that offers a variety of different restaurants, cuisines – everything, all in one place. We’ve also been able to integrate the operations and IT kitchen systems of all restaurant partners to provide a seamless ordering experience. That means Guests can flip back and forth through the different menus of the participating brands and order their favourite items, from their favourite restaurants – all in one order. It gives you the ability to mix and match.”

“The first two Ultimate Kitchens are located in Toronto, but the intent is to expand and scale nationally by the end of 2021. We’re going to continue to grow. But it’s important to note that this is not a strategy to replace our brick and mortar restaurant business. In my opinion, there will always be a value that our guests place on a restaurant experience – the friendly service or ambiance that cannot be replicated or recreated at home. Ultimate Kitchens complements our existing network and isn’t just a response to the pandemic. For the past few years, we’ve seen a change in consumer trends from our existing business shift more into the takeout and delivery channels. We believe that by focusing on these channels, it can become a growth stream for Recipe outside of our traditional business. This provides us the opportunity to service those markets where we’re currently underrepresented.”  

Fountas said Ultimate Kitchens continues to add food partners where it believes it adds value to its customers and helps serve an under-serviced cuisine or concept in certain areas.

“Working with our aggregator partners, we’ve been able to identify the need for additional cuisines and/or concepts by location outside of what Recipe has under its umbrella. From there, we will evaluate whether it makes sense to fill that gap with a third party partnership or explore creating a virtual brand in an effort to create this one-stop marketplace for our guests that satisfies every craving,” he said.  

“We personally believe that whether it’s takeout or delivery, Ultimate Kitchens serves a different, convenience-driven, meal occasion that a consumer is looking for. Our objective, or rather our purpose, is to be around to service these new convenience-driven meal occasions in whatever fashion that the guest is looking for.”  

Founded in 1883, Recipe Unlimited Corporation is Canada’s largest full-service restaurant company. The company franchises and/or operates some of the most recognized brands in the country including Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s, St-Hubert, The Keg, Milestones, Montana’s, Kelseys, East Side Mario’s, New York Fries, Prime Pubs, Bier Markt, Landing, Original Joe’s, State & Main, Elephant & Castle, The Burger’s Priest, The Pickle Barrel, Marigolds & Onions, and 1909 Taverne Moderne.

As at September 27, 2020, Recipe had 24 brands and 1,355 restaurants, 84 percent of which are operated by franchisees and joint venture partners, operating in 10 countries (Canada, USA, Bahrain, China, India, Macao, Oman, Panama, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE).

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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