Hotel chain turning kitchens into ‘digital food halls’ with culinary group partnership

Hotel chain turning kitchens into ‘digital food halls’ with culinary group partnership

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A Chicago-based hotel chain is turning its kitchens into “digital food halls.”

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On Wednesday, Graduate Hotels and culinary group C3 (Creating Culinary Communities) announced that they are working together to transform the hotels’ kitchens into Graduate Food Halls, a “new delivery-focused, hybrid digital kitchen concept.”

The hotel kitchens will be remodeled to support operations for up to six C3 brands at once. C3 — which is owned by SBE Entertainment Group — has several restaurant brands including Umami Burger, Krispy Rice and Sam's Crispy Chicken.

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“Instead of being restricted to one menu or cuisine type, diners simply choose their preferred items from any of C3's food hall concepts in one single order,” the announcement said.

Customers will be able to order from major delivery platforms. C3 will also launch its own delivery app soon, according to the announcement.

Graduate Hotels and culinary group C3 are partnering to transform the hotels’ kitchens so they can support up to six different restaurant brands, making “digital food halls” across the country. (iStock) 

Graduate Food Halls will offer delivery, take-out options, as well as dine-in options in lobbies and gathering areas of the hotels. Though the food halls will be operated by C3, Graduate Hotels will continue to run their own bars.

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The companies expect to debut their first three food halls at Graduate hotels in Berkeley, California, Richmond, Virginia, and Tempe, Arizona, in the first quarter of 2021, according to the website.

Most of the remaining 27 Graduate hotels in the U.S., which are located in university markets, are expected to open their own food halls by the end of the year, according to the announcement.

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“The partnership between C3 and Graduate will set the precedent for the future of hotel dining,” C3 founder Sam Nazarian, said 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.”

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Ben Weprin, the CEO and founder of Graduate Hotels added: “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. 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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