C3’s virtual brands have been cleared for takeoff.
The company behind digital-first restaurant concepts like Krispy Rice and Umami Burger is partnering with private jet company XO to become the exclusive foodservice provider for some of its flights.
Seven C3 brands will be available on select shared flights from New York to South Florida, XO’s most popular route. Passengers will get a link when they book that will allow them to pre-order from multiple restaurants using C3’s Go by Citizens ordering system.
They’ll be able to mix and match items from Plant Nation, Dario Cecchini’s Cicci de Carne, Soom Soom, Hecho Libre, Krispy Rice, EllaMia and Lou’s Cookies, with more options to come, C3 said in a press release.
The companies said the personalized dining experience is a first for the aviation industry.
“We are so thrilled and humbled to disrupt the most coveted world of aviation with the world of C3’s culinary brands and technology as we partner with the exceptional, best-in-class team at XO,” C3 founder and CEO Sam Nazarian said in a statement.
[Read more about C3: How C3 built a restaurant group for the digital age.]
XO was founded in 2019 and offers on-demand charter flights. Flyers can book an entire aircraft or seats on existing shared flights. It has a fleet of more than 2,400 jets.
C3 was founded in 2020 by Nazarian, who also owns a number of restaurants and nightclubs under SBE Hospitality. With C3, he has amassed a collection of higher-end QSR concepts that exist both online and in brick-and-mortar form. Consumers can access the brands through Go by Citizens, an app and website that allows them to order from as many as 18 C3 brands at once.
The partnership between an airline and a restaurant company is unusual, but not unheard of. In 2017, Air Canada partnered with Toronto-based Freshii to offer its food on some flights, for instance. But major airlines generally have their own culinary teams that design and plan in-flight menus. The food itself is then prepared and delivered by airline caterers.
It was unclear how C3's food would be prepared and served. But the foray into airline food provides it with a captive audience as well as a buffer against slowing demand for delivery, which has hurt other virtual brand companies including Nextbite, which C3 acquired over the summer.
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