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Sam Nazarian’s C3 ghost kitchen concept to set up shop in hotels

The new venture will operate as a delivery-focused food hall out of Graduate hotel properties.
Image courtesy of Graduate Hotels

There’s a vacancy in hotel foodservice, and a ghost kitchen is checking in. 

In a new spin on the model, ghost kitchen concept C3 said last week it is teaming up with a hotel chain to operate delivery-focused food halls inside its properties.

C3 (Creating Culinary Communities) will take over foodservice operations in six Graduate Hotels by mid-2021, converting the kitchens to a shared space for up to six brands, including Umami Burger, Krispy Rice and Sam’s Crispy Chicken.

Guests at the boutique hotels will be able to dine in at Graduate Food Hall, and the menus will also be available for delivery to the public via third-party apps and eventually a dedicated C3 app. 

“The partnership between C3 and Graduate will set the precedent for the future of hotel dining,” said C3 founder Sam Nazarian in a statement. “This setup not only supports and supplements in-room hotel dining and on-site catering, it also streamlines the ordering process and extends the hotel’s reach within the local community.”

Nazarian is founder and CEO of the SBE hospitality group of restaurants and hotels. C3, an arm of SBE founded in 2019, aims to use underutilized space in hotels and retail to take advantage of the huge shift toward food delivery. It has a network of more than 200 digital kitchens as well as food halls that offer an array of chef-driven limited-service brands.

Graduate’s properties are located in college towns, offering a built-in pool of young customers who are “deeply connected to app culture,” Nazarian said. The chain has 28 locations and plans to put C3 in most of them after the initial launch this winter in Berkeley, Calif.; Tempe, Ariz.; and Richmond, Va.

“This year has presented both immense challenges and opportunities for our industry, and we have taken these moments to pause, reassess and evolve our offerings in order to best serve guests, students and locals,” said Graduate founder Ben Weprin in a statement. “With Graduate Food Hall, we’re providing some exciting options and epicurean experiences, but also an incredibly streamlined and convenient approach that reflects today’s market.” 

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