C3, The Fastest Growing Omnichannel Food Tech Platform, Has Created a Joint Venture In Saudi Arabia with Global Investment Group WK Holding


The Saudi Joint Venture is Valued at $100 Million with Complete Rollout Funded Upon Announcement and Brings Sam Nazarian’s Proprietary C3 Tech Platform and Popular Digital Restaurant Brands to Saudi Arabia

– The Saudi Joint Venture between Food Tech Platform C3 (USA) and Global Investment Group WK Holding (KSA) is valued at SAR 375,012,400 (US$100 million)

– C3‘s expansion in Saudi Arabia marks a new era for culinary concepts in line with Vision 2030 by unlocking the strengths of titans of industry to deliver operational excellence and value to stakeholders

– Saudi joint venture is equity split of 49% C3 and 51% WK Holding

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: C3 the world’s fastest growing omnichannel food technology platform and Saudi Arabia based investment House WK Holding, today announced a Saudi joint venture to disrupt and revolutionize the region’s food, beverage and lifestyle industries.

C3 Arabia (the partnership created in Saudi Arabia between C3 and WK Holdings) represents a major international venture for C3 (Creating Culinary Communities), which manages and operates award-winning full service chef-driven restaurants, culinary centers, ghost kitchens and mobile delivery.

Exceptional Growth

Launched in 2019 by Sam Nazarian, Founder and CEO, C3 has pioneered the food tech space. The fastest-growing restaurant group in history, C3 launched 165 locations in the U.S. in its first year, achieving 1.3 million orders to date. C3 currently operates over 250 digital brand locations across the U.S. with an expansion pipeline to well over 1,000. 

This past Spring, Claunched its proprietary CITIZENS GO app, the industry’s first alternative to third-party delivery platforms. CITIZENS GO features a culinary marketplace of Cdigital restaurants allowing guests in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Austin, New York and many more US cities to come, to dine across different restaurants and group their menu choices into a single order. CITIZENS GO is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Leading from the Kingdom

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. Under the vision of founding partner Layla Abuzaid, to position the Kingdom as a global hub and epicentre of innovation, WK Holding’s portfolio includes:

  • RafaMFA- is a joint venture between RAFA (Saudi Arabia) and MF Group (the most significant event production company in Russia).
  • RUSSAD- is a company which operates as a bridge for Russian lifestyle companies wishing to enter the Saudi market.
  • SAPEG PE FUND established to facilitate foreign investments in the Kingdom.

Layla Abuzaid, Founder and CEO WK Holding, commented: “WK Holding is humbled to partner with hospitality legend Sam Nazarian, Founder and CEO of C3, whose pioneering track-record is unmatched. C3‘s expansion throughout Saudi Arabia will democratize haute cuisine by owning the food tech space in the region and, 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. Cin Saudi Arabia is a world-first; no other platform has such transformative capacity to unite nations. From our home to your home; thisisbeyond – anewkingdom.”

Ms Abuzaid continued: “We are resolutely ambitious, committed to the realization of Vision 2030 and to playing our part in establishing the Kingdom as an epicentre of excellence. Through the vision and passion of our beloved King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed together with our strong government leadership, Saudi Arabia will become a blueprint global destination where culture and communities thrive.”

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.

Talent Unmatched

No other restaurant group has amassed such an influential collective of globally renowned culinary talents. Across C3 portfolio brands, Chefs, Masaharu MorimotoDario CecchiniKatsuya UechiDani GarciaMartin Heierling, Michael IsraelVincenzo Rossy and Romain Fornell have made haute cuisine accessible, cultivating a global community of fans, including Cindy Crawford, Jon Bonjovi, Jaden Smith, Justin and Hailey Bieber, Diplo and Paris Hilton.

Commenting on the partnership, Sam Nazarian, Founder and CEO of C3, said: “We are thrilled to partner with visionary 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.”

Mr. Nazarian continued: “The C3team 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, including:

  • Umami Burger: topping America’s best burger lists since 2009.
  • Sam’s Crispy Chicken: a fast-casual dining concept offering Southern-fried chicken specialities 100% antibiotic and hormone-free.
  • Krispy Rice: conceived by C3‘s Chief Culinary Officer Martin Heierling and the culinary team behind sister restaurant Katsuya, the menu centres around the iconic Krispy Rice dish alongside handrolls, maki cut rolls, nigiri and chef-curated combinations.
  • Sa’Moto: is a collection of Iron Chef Morimoto’s most loved Pan-Asian dishes, merging Asian flavours, Japanese techniques and American spirit.
  • Cicci Di Carne: centered on the concept of the local deli and butchers’ shop, with a menu helmed by world-renowned Chef Dario Cecchini, known as the “world’s best butcher.”
  • El Pollo Verde: created in partnership with Chef Dani Garcia, one of Spain’s most internationally renowned Chefs, having achieved three Michelin stars and the Bib Gourmand in 2016.
  • Kumi: considered the brotherly brand to Krispy Rice and based on C3‘s famous Las Vegas restaurant Kumi.
  • EllaMia: a modern and sophisticated coffee brand that brings a slice of Los Angeles’s craft coffee culture to international destinations. Lovingly named after the two daughters of C3‘s CEO and Founder, Sam Nazarian.
  • Plant Nation: merges healthy ingredients, modern culinary techniques, and globally-inspired flavours to create one-of-a-kind plant-based dishes.
  • LA Gente: the perfect on-the-go taco experience inspired by the street style of LA food trucks and Mexican tradition.
  • 12 Caviar: here, caviar takes centre stage with a menu highlighting the delicate flavour profiles of caviar from around the world. A hallmark of fine gastronomic dining.

A paradigm-breaking model

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.

#c3arabia #thisisbeyond #anewkingdom

About C3

C3 (Creating Culinary Communities) is re-imagining the food service industry at a time when change is needed most. Founded and led by visionary Sam Nazarian with minority investors Simon, a global leader in the ownership of premier shopping, dining, entertainment and mixed-use destinations, and Accor, the world-leading augmented hospitality group, C3 is simultaneously, systematically and broadly bringing together technology, underutilized retail, hotel and kitchen spaces and world-class culinary talent. C3‘s array of culinary brands co-exist to disrupt the food and beverage industry by capitalizing on rapidly evolving customer preferences through C3 established shared kitchens, Citizens food halls and mobile delivery with the next-gen Citizens GO app set to launch in 2021. Current C3 brands include Umami Burger, Krispy Rice, Sam’s Crispy Chicken, EllaMia, In a Bun, The Other Side and Dani Garcia’s El Pollo Verde, with many other brands in the pipeline. As of March 2021, C3 operates 250 digital kitchens across the U.S. T

About WK Holding:

Founded in 2017 by Layla Issa Abuzaid, who currently serves as CEO, WK Holding is a contemporary investment House that generates mutually beneficial long-term partnerships and innovative value-creating opportunities between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world. Operating across five sectors, entertainment, food and beverage, trading, technology and lifestyle, WK Holdings invests in high quality differentiated assets through an entrepreneurial mindset and an institutional approach.

Today, the WK Holding portfolio includes RAFA/MFA Company, a joint venture between RAFA (Saudi Arabia) and MF Group (the most significant event production company in Russia), RUSSAD, a business hub between Saudi Arabia and Russia and the SAPEG PE FUND established to facilitate foreign investments in the Kingdom.

In 2021, of WK Holding introduced Smart Food Holding as a subdivision dedicated to the funding, incubation and innovation of the most exciting brands operating within the food, beverage and lifestyle space. Smart Food Holding is the investment platform for C3 Arabia.