HomeNewsFood tech platform C3 launches $100mln Saudi joint venture

C3 Arabia will grow to 550 brand locations in five years

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By Staff Writer, ZAWYA

US-based C3, the food tech platform behind brands like Umami Burger, Plant Nation, Krispy Rice and Sam’s Krispy Chicken, has announced a $100 million partnership that will expand its business in Saudi Arabia. 

Called C3 Arabia, the joint venture between the US company and Saudi Arabia-based WK Holding will see the opening of 550 brand locations across the kingdom within five years.   

Under the agreement,  the ownership of C3 Arabia will be a 49 percent-51 percent split between the two parties. 

C3 was founded in 2019 by Sam Nazarian. 

 In a press release, the two companies said the platform’s expansion into the kingdom was fully funded by Smart Food Holding, a division of WK Holding.   

C3 Arabia will open its first location, CITIZENS Food Hall in Riyadh, in the first quarter of 2022. It will feature Cfood brands.  

This follows the first C3 CITIZENS Food Hall in New York, which is due to open in summer 2021, followed by the second outlet in Atlanta in 2022. 

Described as an ‘omnichannel culinary centre’, the Riyadh-based dining concept will feature full-service restaurants and casual dining outlets. A ghost kitchen will also serve meal delivery and pick-up orders placed via the CITIZENS GO app, which was launched in the US earlier this year. 

Number crunching

The company said it will introduce 40 food brands to the region across food halls, ghost kitchens, quick-service restaurants (QSR), self-service, drive-through and mobile delivery concepts. 

Layla Abuzaid, founder and CEO, WK Holding, said: “C3’s expansion throughout Saudi Arabia will democratise haute cuisine by owning the food tech space in the region”.   

“We will assemble a best-in-class hospitality hub in the Kingdom for the region, for the world. We will unlock local talents, celebrate our vibrant culinary culture, and export globally.”   

Nazarian, founder and CEO of C3, said: “International expansion is key to C3’s growth and there is no better partner to take us into the influential Saudi Arabia market”.   

“WK Holding’s track record of successful execution and best-in-class relationships matches C3’s vision. Through [the] partnership, we are excited to introduce C3’s popular digital restaurant brands such as Umami Burger, Sam’s Crispy Chicken, Krispy Rice, Kumi, Sa’moto and more to the Saudi community.” 

(Writing by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Cleofe Maceda) 

Imogen.lillywhite@refinitiv.com