Virtual restaurant company C3 and online order platform Lunchbox announced today the launch of a new restaurant app, CITIZENS GO. The app will provide ordering and delivery services for C3’s growing network of ghost kitchens, which number over 200 at this point, according to a press release sent to The Spoon.
Via CITIZENS GO, which is available for both iPhone and Android, users can access C3’s growing list of delivery-only brands, which the company fulfills in various ghost kitchen spaces around the country, including in residential buildings. To start, CITIZENS GO will be available in Los Angeles, Northern California, New York City, and Chicago. Miami, Austin, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, and Atlanta are slated for the near future.
Lunchbox’s tech powers the back end of the app when it comes to processing orders and facilitating delivery. The two companies first partnered in October of 2020 to create this virtual food hall, and the resulting CITIZENS GO app has been in the works ever since.
Among other things, Lunchbox is known for its online order tech that lets restaurants process and fulfill off-premises orders without the need for third-party delivery services like DoorDash or Uber Eats.
A notable feature of the new CITIZENS GO app is its ability to bundle orders from multiple different restaurant brands into a single transaction for the user. For example, a customer might have a craving for both a Plant Nation burger and something from Sam’s Krispy Chicken. Rather than having to create a separate transaction for each virtual restaurant (which is still required of users on third-party delivery services), customers can put anything they want on the app into a single shopping basket and pay on one ticket.
The bundling concept is actually quite complicated to enable from a technological standpoint, so it isn’t yet widespread in restaurant world. But as Lunchbox’s platform illustrates, more restaurant tech companies are starting to offer solutions to enable the concept. An Ontario, Canada-based company called Ghost Kitchens has its own tech to bundle orders from its kitchens, and Kitchen United developed its own in-house tech to do the same for its facilities.
Most operations, however, will be most likely to do what C3 did and partner with a third-party restaurant tech company to enable this bundling capability. At some point in the not-so-distant future, said feature will become a de facto part of the restaurant tech stack, particularly in the ghost kitchen.
In the meanwhile, C3 said in its press release today that new restaurant brands will be added to the app “in the coming months” to the CITIZENS GO mobile app.