LOS ANGELES, U.S. — C3 (Creating Culinary Communities), an innovative digital kitchen platform launched by Sam Nazarian, is breathing life into a collection of shuttered restaurants with the introduction of C3 brand EllaMia in the U.S. The acquisition doubles the size of the C3 portfolio and is accompanied by the hiring of up to 500 food service workers to operate EllaMia locations, which will each house up to six other C3 brands. The first U.S. EllaMia location will open in February 2021.
C3 acquired 22 Specialty’s Café and Bakery locations in California, Washington and Illinois through an M&A transaction after the company filed for bankruptcy in August due to the pandemic. C3 will now revitalize these Specialty’s locations, a fabric of the communities they served since 1987, with the EllaMia brand and C3 ecosystem. Along with the versatile EllaMia café concept, which has two current locations in Dubai and London, each location will house C3 shared digital kitchens. This offers a turnkey solution to launch a new brand at scale while compounding each location’s business opportunity. All-in-one catering, dine-in and takeout options will improve profitability by extending business operations from five days to seven days per week. Consumers will now have access to more varied offerings and a heightened service structure.
EllaMia will service the following high-demand markets: Chicago, Seattle, San Diego, Bay Area (San Francisco, Sacramento, Rancho Cordova, Oakland, San Mateo, Walnut Creek, San Jose, Milpitas and Santa Clara) and Orange County (Irvine and Costa Mesa). In addition, EllaMia locations with also open at major university campuses including Arizona State, Berkeley, Iowa State, University of Michigan, University of Nebraska and University of Richmond.
“Unlocking the value of underutilized real estate and creating opportunity in a hurting food service industry is key to the C3 model. The introduction of EllaMia along with three to six proprietary C3 brands in each individual location effectively means operating 100 distinct dining concepts in a third of the space required by a traditional restaurant,” said Sam Nazarian, CEO and founder of C3.
EllaMia will feature breakfast and lunch menus alongside a proprietary couture coffee blend created in partnership with legacy Italian coffee maker Lavazza. Brand chef Romain Fournel, formerly of the award-winning Jean Philippe Patisserie in Las Vegas and Patisserie Henriet in Paris, conceptualized and crafted EllaMia menu items including a world-class selection of breakfast pastries, gourmet sandwiches, salads, macarons and specialty chocolates. EllaMia locations will house inviting display cases for grab-and-go diners and community seating. C3 brands that will utilize EllaMia shared kitchens and be available for delivery to the surrounding communities include Umami Burger, Krispy Rice, Sam’s Crispy Chicken, Plant Nation, LA Gente, In a Bun and The Other Side.
“A true restaurant of the future, EllaMia kitchens are each equipped to fluidly prepare foods from different C3 concepts to maximize efficiency of real estate and labor,” remarked Brad Reynolds, chief operating officer of C3. “The added availability of different cuisine to accommodate varying consumer preferences is another benefit for each local EllaMia community.”
EllaMia and the digital brands housed within each location will soon be available on a proprietary meal delivery app developed by C3. C3’s digital ecosystem empowers consumers to pick and choose their favorite menu items from multiple C3 brands into one single order, instead of needing to choose one restaurant and one culinary preference, as is the current procedure with third-party delivery platforms.