LONDON – British supermarket group Asda said it had made an equity investment in digital food service start up Lean Kitchen Network (LKN), the latest collaboration of a partnership strategy partly designed to repurpose excess space at its stores.
The strategy, which has already seen Asda partner with fast food retailer Greggs, do-it-yourself retailer B&Q and toy seller The Entertainer, has been retained by its new owners Mohsin and Zuber Issa and private-equity group TDR Capital.
Asda said on Wednesday it would partner with LKN, whose brands include burger chain Twisted London, to trial tech-driven food-for-now counters, initially in four London stores.
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.
Asda said the deal followed the successful launch of LKN‘s House of Yum café concept at its store in Clapham, London, last December.
The supermarket group said it had invested in LKN alongside hospitality investor Edition Capital, preceding a larger Series A round of funding later this year. It did not disclose financial details.
Asda said it was also backing LKN, which works with brands such as Pepsico, Heinz and Doritos, to target further growth in the hospitality sector by partnering with large hotel operators, restaurants and pub chains.
The Issa brothers and TDR completed their purchase of a majority stake in Asda from U.S. giant Walmart in February.
On Friday, Asda CEO Roger Burnley stepped down, six months before he had been due to leave and without a successor in place.