Yesterday Pilotworks, the company that is working to become the AWS of the food industry, announced that they would be closing down their shared commercial kitchens in Providence, RI and Portland, ME. A statement on the company’s website says it will shutter the Providence location on September 30th. Member food companies will have until October 5th to remove their kitchen equipment from the space.
Pilotworks will also close the Food Fork Lab, a Portland, ME-based shared kitchen space they acquired in 2016. According to the Bangor Daily News, the decision was “due to the structural layout and market dynamics in this location.”
In the same article, Pilotworks CEO Zach Ware went on to say that operating the Portland location sustainably was “not feasible long term.” Ware took the helm rather suddenly in June after Pilotworks co-founder and CEO Nick Devane stepped down. Apparently, the new CEO is tightening up operations and focusing on higher-performing locations. There’s no word yet if there will be any change to Pilotworks’ other branches in Dallas, Chicago, Brooklyn, and Newark, NJ.
Pilotworks isn’t the only player in the shared commercial kitchen space game. Colorado-based The Food Corridor is an online platform which lets growing food businesses find and rent certified commercial kitchen spaces. And Pasadena, California’s Kitchen United offers kitchen space rentals to restaurants and other companies looking to up their delivery output. (Psst — the CEO’s from both of these companies will be speaking at the Smart Kitchen Summit this October!) The shared commercial kitchen space seems to be growing rapidly — just maybe not in smaller towns like Providence and Portland.
This news is especially surprising to us at the Spoon, since we hosted a successful meetup on blue tech at Providence Pilotworks just a few weeks ago. We’ve reached out to the company and will update the post if we hear back.