Kernel Builds Core OS & Automation For Distributed Fast Casuals Of The Future
December 20, 2023
After two years of operating in stealth mode and $36mm of capital raised, Chipotle founder Steve Ells’ latest NYC-based concept Kernel opened its doors for friends and family this week for a sneak peek. The restaurant leverages trends like plant-based alternatives as well as automation, and is completely designed to be consumed off-premise. The core business model relies on a hub-and-spoke commissary that supplies pre-cooked food to small-footprint satellite restaurants that don’t require the use of any kitchen ventilation, just electric impingement ovens and automated salad mixers with three staff members working the line. With Kernel, Ells is looking to eliminate a lot of the so-called “waste” of the traditional fast casual experience by eliminating POS systems, order boards, and front-of-house staff. According to SEC documents, he contributed roughly $9mm of his own capital to fund initial operations. Over the past few days, HNGRY sent in beta tasters to get an early look at the startup’s progress and automation IP.