Nimbus, a commercial kitchen space for food businesses of all types, is set to officially open on January 11 in New York City. With it, the company’s founders, entrepreneurs Camilla Opperman and Samantha Slager, aim to provide a space for restaurants struggling from both the pandemic and high cost of rent in NYC.
To learn more about Nimbus and its upcoming launch, I spoke with Opperman and Slager this week. The two said they were inspired to provide an “on-demand” kitchen space to support restaurants and start-ups in their city, but also wanted to go above and beyond the standard ghost kitchen concept.
Nimbus offers a variety of flexible lease and rental options that allow food businesses to control how much they are spending on rent per month. A restaurant or food entrepreneur can rent space at Nimbus for a range of different time periods, from a few months to just a few hours. They can also choose a longer-term lease if desired. Space in the facility costs $20/hour for the prep-only kitchen and $35/hour for the shift-kitchens with a 20-hour minimum per month for both. The Nimbus model also allows businesses to use a convenient online dashboard to book kitchen time, rent storage space, pay invoices, and store permit and insurance information. The kitchen spaces are fully stocked with appliances, saving the food businesses money in start-up costs.
Since ghost kitchens are very much a “back-of-house” operation, what goes on inside them is never really witnessed by customers. To deviate from this and provide more transparency into its operations, the Nimbus facility will also include a front-of-house community space and show-kitchen. These spaces can be used for cooking demonstrations, community events, and workshops, Nimbus said.
The first Nimbus location will host a variety of both existing restaurants and food startups. Roberta’s Pizza (wood-fired pizza), Quinn (a meal delivery service), Alchemista (offers catering and food locker services), Brooklyn Batched Cocktails (pre-made batch cocktails), and Munch Hours Inc (a catering company) are just a few of the businesses that will start using the commercial kitchen space on January 11. Businesses using the space will partner will existing food delivery companies such as DoorDash and Caviar.
As ghost kitchens become more popular — Euromonitor predicted last year the market could be worth $1 trillion by 2030 — different types are emerging that deviate from the traditional commissary a la Kitchen United or Zuul. Nimbus’ concept provides not just an opportunity for restaurants looking for shorter-term leases, but also a way for non-restaurant food businesses to take advantage of the growing ghost kitchen concept.
Nimbus’ cofounders said they are currently looking into opening two new locations in different areas of New York City. The company also has plans to expand nationwide in the next five years, starting in major cities such as Los Angeles and Miami.