Digital-first C3 expands to UAE, Middle East in partnership with Kitopi cloud kitchens

10 virtual concepts, including Krispy Rice, will come to life in 65 cloud kitchens

Digital-first culinary platform C3 has partnered with Kitopi under licensing agreement to launch its virtual restaurants, including Umami Burger, Sam’s Crispy Chicken and Krispy Rice, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). C3’s first international development deal will bring to life in the UAE up to 10 restaurant brands, and also Sa’moto by Morimoto, in collaboration with Michelin-starred chef Masaharu Morimoto.

Through the use of Kitopi’s cloud-kitchen platform, C3 (Creating Culinary Communities) will reach customers across the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, and Bahrain through 65 cloud-kitchen locations. Rolling out over the next six months, the licensing agreement is the latest in a series of deals allowing it to expand its ecosystem to hotels and residential properties, as well as a collection of Citizens food halls, which will start launching this summer.

Last year, C3 finished 2020 with almost 200 digital kitchens in operation, supporting 15 digital-first restaurant brands and more than 1,200 employees.


This year and next year, C3 will debut Citizens food halls in key markets. In July, Citizens Manhattan West will open in New York City, and in the Southeast, Citizens Atlanta at Phipps Plaza will launch in 2022.

[Related article: C3 to open Citizens Manhattan West food hall]

“Our restaurant concepts are poised to do exceptionally well in Abu Dhabi and Dubai because of the personal connections residents have formed with our brands during their own international travels, said Sam Nazarian, founder and chief executive of C3. “Now we’re coming to them; offering Kitopi’s dedicated patrons direct access to Umami Burger, Sam’s Crispy Chicken, Krispy Rice and Sa’moto by Morimoto through our app and within their own communities.”

Kitopi has emerged as a leading cloud-kitchen platform. Founded in 2018, Kitopi helps restaurant operators focus on back-end and customer experience, while providing significant expansion opportunities. Kitopi has 65 kitchens, supporting over 200 culinary brands across key Middle East markets.

Mohamad Ballout, founder of Kitopi, commented, “The menus offer unique flavors and dishes – like the Japanese-inspired Umami Burger—not commonly found in our marketplace. Both C3 and Kitopi firmly believe in creating community-based experiences around food, and this partnership will further strengthen our efforts to connect diners all over the world through the shared enjoyment of a good meal.”


The companies expect the first cloud kitchens to roll out this summer, and menus from all 10 brands to available in six months. Customers in the UAE, and subsequent rollout markets of KSA, Kuwait, and Bahrain, will be able to order via C3’s proprietary Citizens Go app.

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