Two entrepreneurs are bidding to change the landscape of the food industry with the UK’s first online market place for kitchen space.
Twins Charlie and Emma Jones are aiming to bring the sharing economy to the foodservice market by matching underused commercial kitchens with food businesses in London.
Their business, called ‘Kitchup’, currently lists more than 70 kitchens across the capital, varying from industrial kitchen units and show kitchens to churches, public buildings and coffee shops.
With the ‘food to go market’ expected to treble by 2020 and tech companies such as Deliveroo and UberEATS driving up demand for convenience food all hours of the day, the Joneses spotted a gap to help restaurants and food start-ups find the capacity they need to produce additional food.
Kitchup helps connect kitchen owners with food businesses looking to hire more flexible and affordable kitchen space. They have likened the concept to ‘Airbnb’ but with a greater level of customer service.
Through partnerships with the Nationwide Caterers Association and Startup Direct, Kitchup hopes to provide bespoke advice to the varying needs of food businesses.
“We want to encourage a more collaborative and resourceful food community that has social, environmental and economic benefits for all involved,” explained Charlie. “We have already built up the largest network of commercial kitchen space in London, and we’re only just getting started.”
The pair intend to raise funds to help develop their tech solution and roll out the platform nationwide.
According to the pair, a kitchen space could be an industrial kitchen unit that isn’t being used to its full capacity or it could it be in a less obvious place such as a church, public building or coffee shop.
If a coffee shop closes at 4pm, their commercial kitchen could be used by a baker overnight to get their goods ready for the next day of trading, they suggest.
The platform has already provided a stepping stone for food start-ups that have outgrown home kitchens and need to scale.
As well as supporting emerging food businesses, Kitchup has facilitated space for high-street restaurant chains, menu development, supper clubs, food photography, cooking classes and corporate events.
Emma, who recently went full-time with Kitchup to support her brother, said: “With continuous innovation in the food industry we hope to bring more choice and flexibility to kitchen space, supporting people on their food journey and helping businesses thrive.”