US-based C3 Tech Platform expands into Saudi Arabia with a joint venture with WK Holding
Mita Srinivasan
10X Technology

US-based C3 Tech Platform expands into Saudi Arabia with a joint venture with WK Holding

Joint Venture, valued at US$100 million, with equity split of 49 percent for C3 and 51 percent for WK Holding, marks a new era for culinary concepts in line with Saudi Vision 2030 by delivering operational excellence and value to stakeholders

C3 Arabia, a Saudi joint venture between C3, a global omnichannel food technology platform and Saudi Arabia-based investment House WK Holding, was launched to disrupt and revolutionize the Middle East’s food, beverage and lifestyle industries. This joint venture represents a major international venture for C3 (Creating Culinary Communities), which manages and operates award-winning full service chef-driven restaurants, culinary centres, ghost kitchens and mobile delivery.

C3's expansion into Saudi Arabia is fully funded by Smart Food Holding, a division of WK Holding, through its consortium of high-profile partners, including Layla Abuzaid and Yasser Alobaidan

The regional roll-out of C3 throughout Saudi Arabia will leverage the momentum of the advancement of the Kingdom. C3 and WK Holding will assemble an operating team based in Riyadh to design and deliver best-in-class execution across the C3 Saudi Arabia operating platform, including sourcing the highest quality produce from local suppliers. And as part of its influence on cultural globalization, C3's efforts in Saudi Arabia will identify, mentor, and incubate local culinary talent in a move that will brand and export Saudi hospitality culture to the world.

Commenting on the partnership, Sam Nazarian, Founder and CEO of C3, said: "We are thrilled to partner with Layla Abuzaid and WK Holding. 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 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."

Nazarian continued: "The C3 team is committed to the Saudi kingdom's realization of Vision 2030 and the transformation of Saudi Arabia into a global industrial powerhouse. Adding to that sentiment and through partnership we are aiming to inspire the world to come together through the love of food."

C3's expansion into Saudi Arabia is set to introduce 40 international brands to the region. The first C3 site in Saudi Arabia, CITIZENS Food Hall, is due to launch in Riyadh in the first quarter of 2022. The omnichannel culinary center will contain a curated collection of C3 culinary brands. It will operate as a dining destination featuring full-service restaurants and a fast-casual food hall. Powered by a ghost kitchen, CITIZENS Food Hall Riyadh will also serve meal delivery and pick up orders placed via the "CITIZENS GO" app.

The Saudi joint venture between C3 and WK Holding is forecast to launch thirty brand locations in year one, rising to 110 absolute locations and 550 brand locations by year five comprising food halls, ghost kitchens, QSR, self-service, grab and go, drive-thru plus and mobile delivery.

C3 is looking at site locations at public and private developments at all scales, such as gyms, gas stations, airports, campuses, sports venues, malls and retail outlets, as well as Saudi mega-projects.

By unlocking hospitality in the Kingdom through the disruption of food tech, C3 in Saudi Arabia will generate hundreds of jobs and bolster the economy of Saudi Arabia and the region at large through the motivation of hospitality and the development of private-sector infrastructure.