Cuisine Solutions, which manufactures and distributes sous vide food products, announced this week via an email that it has teamed up with cafe chain Pret A Manger to open what it’s calling a “dark assembly kitchen” (DAK) in New York City.
Dubbed CS DAK, the ghost kitchen-like operation will offer multiple food concepts for delivery through the major third-party delivery platforms as well as via the CS DAK website.
Since all food available through CS DAK will be sous vide cuisine from Cuisine Solution’s product inventory, the assembly process for orders will be minimal. Fully cooked food will arrive at a Pret A Manger location in Midtown Manhattan, which will serve as the official first facility for this operation. Pret A Manger staff at that location will assemble the menu items and package them for delivery. There is no from-scratch cooking involved in the process.
CS DAK will offer four different concepts to start:
- Cocina Oscura and Mediterranean: Build-your-own Mexican or Mediterranean bowls, salads, and wraps
- Poultry in Motion: Sous Vide Egg Bites and chicken dishes
- Bodega: A high-end take on the ready-made meal
- The Cutting Edge: A variety of high-end international dishes
Cuisine Solutions said in today’s press release that customer can expect Asian, Italian, and BBQ-based sous vide concepts to join the above list in the future.
The launch of CS DAK is another example of existing restaurants licensing virtual concepts as a way to create some additional revenue as the restaurant industry continues to struggle with indoor dining closures and restrictions. This idea became more widespread towards the end of 2020. Wow Bao, for example, licenses its own menu to other restaurants, which can assemble food items from their own kitchens and send them out for delivery. Also noteworthy in this space is Odermark, which raised $120 million for its NextBite platform that pairs restaurants with delivery-only brands to help them increase revenues. At a recent Spoon virtual event, Ordermark’s CEO Alex Canter referenced one NextBite client that had incorporated five of those virtual concepts into their restaurant and were doing “10 to 15 times more revenue through those brands” than via their own.
For its part, the CK DAK concept will be available for delivery for Manhattanites starting this Thursday, January 7. The concept will likely launch at additional Pret A Manger locations in the near future.