Club Kitchen Launches in Downtown Vancouver, Offering Restaurateurs an Innovative Culinary Hub [Interview]


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The unique Club Kitchen concept is launching in downtown Vancouver which will be home of 13 independent kitchen spaces operating under a single roof. 

“We will be providing local restaurateurs the opportunity to open a new business in a premium location for a fraction of the cost. We believe that Club Kitchen provides a fantastic solution for many different types of local operators; food trucks seeking out a fixed location, small businesses running one to restaurants  looking to expand to downtown, or even existing downtown businesses looking to consolidate their delivery and takeout revenues to a single location freeing up the ability to better serve their dine-in customers,” said JJ Fraser, Operations Manager of Club Kitchen.

JJ Fraser

“Club Kitchen is not a commissary kitchen or a ghost kitchen. Each individual kitchen space comes fully equipped with major appliances, refrigeration, and storage within their own units providing each restaurant concept with the opportunity to build and grow their business long term. There will be no hourly/weekly/monthly rentals or time slots (common in commissary operations) and every customer will know exactly which restaurant they are ordering from.

“Our intention is to provide a fully visible space where members of the community gain access to local chefs and restaurateurs in a centralized space by means of takeout and delivery. By working together with Club Kitchen, restaurants will benefit from the procurement power of the group, in-house operational support, and the potential to realize higher profits in an area that is traditionally cost-prohibitive for many new ventures.”

Image: Club Kitchen

Club Kitchen is located in a high-density urban centre with access to more than 100,000 potential customers within a 10-minute delivery radius.

It will be located on the ground floor of The Arc condo project by Concord Pacific at the corner of Expo Blvd. and Nelson St. The residential tower, which is completed, has more than 500 units.

The Club Kitchen space is for 13 private, full customized kitchens with a centralized pick up space. The Club Kitchen is under construction and target opening is late August, early September. Spaces are licensed out to tenants. The whole operation is about 6,000 square feet. Spaces range in size from 230 square feet to 300 square feet.

“It’s not a ghost kitchen. Not a food court. It’s kind of a new blend and new direction for all of those concepts. The idea is turnkey. The kitchen has been fully built out. The infrastructure has been taken care of. The equipment is all set in place. Really all the restaurant operators need to do is come in and start cooking,” said Fraser. 

“Less risk. Less overhead, up front costs. And a downtown footprint for quicker access.”

Club Kitchen at The Arc (Image: Club Kitchen)

Customers can access all 13 restaurants individually or all at the same time. When customers walk in the front door, they can select restaurants through a digital kiosk, place an order and wait for the food to be prepared from the back. Another option is to access the Club Kitchen website and place an order for delivery or pick up. A third option is delivery through several third-party food delivery services.

There is also some seating there – 17 inside and about 60 in the concourse area in The Arc.

Fraser said the key highlights of Club Kitchen are:

  • Run with only kitchen staff. The Club Kitchen team handles hand-offs and Front of House operations so restaurants can focus on cooking;
  • Pre-negotiated partner agreements with a range of vendors and suppliers, including preferred pricing from Sysco, GFS, Cuboh, Foodbuy Canada, and more;
  • Club Kitchen provides marketing and advertising for both Club Kitchen and each individual member;
  • Operational support and insight with its in-house operations team to help businesses succeed; and
  • Expedited operational permitting process through its close relationship with Vancouver Coastal Health and the City of Vancouver.

Shanon Thornley of Concord Pacific is the leasing contact for Club Kitchen.

Image: Club Kitchen

Hugh Carbery, Operations Manager of Club Kitchen, said the concept will curate a variety of different food offerings. 

Hugh Carbery

“We don’t want to have more than one sushi restaurant or more than one burger restaurant. What we’ve looked at and done a little bit of research on is what are the top selling genres within the food delivery apps. That’s a big part of it and kind of our own knowledge, JJ and I in the industry for so long, what works and what doesn’t within those kitchens,” he said. “Efficiency is the key here.”

Carbery said more of these Club Kitchens are on the horizon.

“That’s the idea. Get our first flagship opening and operating smoothly and then open in strategic locations – across North America, but our first location is the most important” he said.

Mario Toneguzzi
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 is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.


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