Asda has announced it has made an equity investment in Lean Kitchen Network (LKN) ‒ one of the UK’s most innovative digital brand creation and food service businesses, marking a new step in the grocer’s partnership strategy and further broadening its food service offer for customers.
The supermarket has invested in LKN alongside hospitality expert investor Edition Capital, preceding a larger Series A round of funding in the digital food specialist later this year.
LKN – whose portfolio includes viral virtual burger chain, Twisted London – has secured Asda’s backing to target further growth in the hospitality sector by partnering with large hotel operators, restaurants and pub chains to transform under-utilised kitchen space into ‘on-trend’ eateries to improve on-site dining options and drive new and incremental sales through on demand food delivery.
The company works with some of the nation’s favourite brands such as, Pepsico, Heinz and Doritos, and uses its own brands including Twisted London (a partnership with Jungle Creations) and ‘House of Yum’ to create interactive menus that change throughout the day to suit the needs of customers.
In addition to its investment, Asda will also partner exclusively with LKN to trial the next generation of tech-driven food-for-now counters, initially in four London stores: Park Royal, Colindale, Bexley and Edmonton.
Customers will be able to order food at LKN’s touch-screen kiosk or on their mobile phone by scanning a QR code, and can wait for it to be made in the store’s kitchen or collect their order at the end of their shop. The counters will also offer orders for delivery via Uber Eats.
Shoppers can expect to see LKN develop new concepts as part of a dynamic menu that will represent food service firsts, such as a Doritos ‘nacho bar’ and Heinz breakfast offer, in these four stores.
The announcement follows the successful launch of the ‘House of Yum’ café concept at the Asda store in Clapham, London, last December, where customers can use a QR code to order or place an order for rapid delivery via Uber Eats.
House of Yum is part of the supermarket’s ‘test and learn’ partnership strategy, which sees it partner with category experts and popular brands to deliver propositions with authority and broaden the destination appeal of its stores.
Preyash Thakrar, Asda’s Chief Strategy Officer, said: “Asda’s partnerships strategy is anchored around collaborating with innovative businesses like Lean Kitchen Network to bring new products and services to customers. Investing in the business is the natural next step in our relationship and we look forward to working with them as they drive positive change in the food-for-now market, leading to greater choice and improved quality for consumers.”
Faraz Nagree, CEO and Founder of Lean Kitchen Network, said: “Our partnership with Asda represents a big step forward in our ability to provide high quality, affordable and exciting meals to our customers across the UK. Their unparalleled expertise and buying scale combined with our digital and food development capabilities will be truly disruptive for food-for-now and delivery as we grow at pace.”