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Emerging Brands

5 things to know about Knead Hospitality & Design

How full-service restaurant design is changing to meet consumer needs during the pandemic and why there’s reason to be hopeful.

Buzzworthy Brands is a bi-weekly Restaurant Business podcast and feature highlighting innovative growth brands. Listen to the conversation with Knead Hospitality & Design’s Founder and Principal Jason Berry.

Knead Hospitality & Design is a multi-concept restaurant group based in Washington, D.C. The group not only runs its restaurants, but it designs them as well.

Knead is known for partnering with well-known chefs such as Edward Lee, Roberto Santibanez and Umber Ahmad to create scaleable concepts.

Knead’s concepts include Succotash, Mi Vida, The Grill, Gatsby and Mah Ze Dahr

Here are five more things to know about Knead Hospitality & Design:

  1. The group thinks big when it comes to its concepts, with plans to replicate nearly all of them in more than one location, Berry said. “We’re looking at growing all of the brands as appropriate,” he said. “We believe they have legs to grow throughout the area.”
  2. All of Knead’s chef-partners have equity in their businesses, though the deals vary depending on the situation. “All of our chefs bring a little bit of edge to what they do,” he said.
  3. Pastry chef Umber Ahmad was a banker with Goldman Sachs, who created for desserts for her client, Chef Tom Colicchio. Colicchio was so impressed, he suggested she go into business. “She dropped the ‘n’ in banker and became a baker,” Berry said. Knead and Ahmad are partnering on a new project, to create a bakery at an Amazon headquarters in Northern Virginia, which is slated to open in May.
  4. How does Knead know when and if a concept is ready to grow? “That has a lot to do with how it’s received and how busy it is,” Berry said. All of Knead’s restaurants are in mixed-use areas, so they need to prove that they’re versatile for a wide variety of occasions.
  5. Knead has not drastically changed its design to suit the pandemic. But Berry thinks more restaurants will start incorporating greater space for take-out and delivery pickups. Regardless, he is hopeful about the future of full-service dining. “I’ve chosen to go with the more optimistic point of view,” he said. “As infections drop and people are vaccinated, there’s an enormous amount of pent-up demand for people to go out and spend the money they haven’t been able to spend.”

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