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Episode 41: Dark Kitchens Bright Future with Jean Valfort, Restaurateur and Founder of DÉVOR

Episode 41: Dark Kitchens Bright Future with Jean Valfort

Get insight on the future of food retail. Join Ragnar as he talks with Jean Valfort, restaurateur and founder of Dark Kitchen, now DÉVOR (Delivered to Your Door). Dark kitchens, also known as ghost kitchens, reimagined the dining landscape. Now hear how technology is helping Jean invent the future of connected catering on this episode of World on a Plate.

Jean and his team didn’t wait for COVID to divide their concept of traditional restaurants and delivery formats. Seeking to do both best, Jean co-founded Dark Kitchen in 2018, a project anchored in the evolving habits of consumption in France.

Accelerated by the current crisis, Dark Kitchens gave way to DÉVOR. The new outfit intends to amplify its deployment towards a less operational model, more oriented towards technology, supply chain, and know-how.

“The challenges of digital transformation have been known for many years. But the sudden change in consumer habits and the explosion of online activities inferred by the health crisis, have underscored the urgency of a long-term economically viable transformation. For us, the concept of the Dark Kitchen is already a thing of the past. We have to think further with the omnichannel nature of supplies around two business models: dark kitchens and dark stores.”

Today DÉVOR has 4 hubs in 3 cities and 5 virtual brands: Fat Fat, Saint Burger, Squeeze Burger, Mama Tacos, Holy Chick. Linking the customer control via smartphone to onsite in each kitchen, an optimized and digitized supply chain and an algorithm on geolocated consumption habits puts technology at the service of operations.

Working to pivot towards a “turnkey” model, DÉVOR is creating its own infrastructure for local entrepreneurs and artisans who want to enter the catering market for delivery. With a broader offer where there will no longer be any limits between online and offline, DÉVOR aims to promote the emergence of “dark stores” in France: micro-hubs in the heart of the city, exclusively dedicated to the supply of quality food, delivered or click-and-collect, prepared minute or to prepare oneself.

The DÉVOR Lab Store will be at a crossroads: instant consumption with virtual kitchens, “at home” consumption with delivery in less than 15 minutes directly, all via your smartphone.

“Our meats come from a Norman butcher, our buns from an artisan bakery in Savoie, our vegetables are exclusively sourced locally. It is important to work on a delivery project without industrial logic. This is what makes us say that the delivery of meals is a separate profession, complementary to the traditional catering activity but with its challenges.”

More than just a shift towards technology, at the center of DÉVOR’s mission is a reconnection with local producers and artisans. Jean sees city dwellers looking for hyper-proximity, a limited but high-quality choice: “DÉVOR wants to be part of this logic of the smart city. Few products, a sharp selection, immediacy. This is our project.” While the digital divide so often isolates this understanding, leave it to the French to make sure those bonds remain unbroken.

Be sure to tune in to the episode for a view of the future, from operations and apps to marketing and customer satisfaction.

To learn more about DÉVOR, visit their website and find @devor.me on Instagram. For more from Jean, follow him on Instagram @jeanvalfort.

Resources

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Acknowledgements

Special thanks to Jean Valfort for joining as as a guest.

World on a Plate is supported by Nestlé Professional and our podcast sponsors.

 


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