Kitchen United had some big, aggressive goals. Last year, Founder and CEO Jim Collins laid out the path to 15 locations open or under way by the end of 2019.
It’s the hallmark in the restaurant industry to over-promise and hope everyone forgets about it, but given a major addition to the leadership team, two new locations all on the heels of a successful funding round, the company seems poised to deliver.
In late February, the company announced four major additions to the executive team, adding a dedicated CFO, and executive vice presidents for marketing, IT and data strategy & revenue growth.
Michael Montagano will take on the role of CFO. He has deep experience with scaling concepts from his time at an international web development firm and previously as the lead M&A and corporate finance attorney at law firm Faegre, Baker & Daniels. Craig Cochrane will serve as the EVP of marketing. The seasoned marketing executive comes from leading digital strategy for the Special Olympics World Games.
Jessi Moss will serve as EVP of IT, bringing a wealth of experience from a handful of restaurant IT posts including Pick Up Stix, Leeann Chin and City Brewing Company. And finally, Koy Chang-Lai will serve as EVP concentrating on data and revenue growth. She brings in-depth experience in corporate strategy and strategic growth, serving previously at Bain & Company and Chevron.
“We are very proud to have built a first-class leadership team at Kitchen United as we continue on our path toward becoming a national brand that serves an important function in the growth of leading restaurant brands,” said Jim Collins, CEO of Kitchen United. “Our management team not only guides our own business, but plays an important advisory role to the restaurant partners that we work with.”
Not one for quiet periods, soon after the hires went public Kitchen United announced two new locations in Austin, Texas, and Scottsdale, Arizona. Kitchen United currently operates locations in Pasadena, California, and Chicago, as well as recently announced lease agreements in Atlanta and Columbus, Ohio.
“We are thrilled to announce our first location in Austin, a city that we believe is perfectly suited for Kitchen United given its evolution as a growing hub for young adults,” said Meredith Sandland, chief operating officer for Kitchen United. “With a growing numbers of restaurants, office space and housing, we are confident that the Austin market will provide our restaurant partners with ample opportunity to capitalize on the rising consumer demand for off-premise dining.”
The locations capitalize on some of the fastest-growing markets in the country.
“According to Census data, there is demonstrated growth going on between Scottsdale and Tempe, providing the right traffic patterns and brand visibility for our restaurant partners,” said Sandland. “Furthermore, when it came to selecting the Scottsdale location, we chose a high development area that will offer our restaurant partners the most favorable opportunity for increased business.”
With the growing executive team and leases signed, Kitchen United appears to be the first mover in a buzz-worthy segment in the Food On Demand world. It appears their aggressive goals may be realized in the next couple years and could dramatically change how their markets interact with restaurants.