Food Republic: Vancouver's first digital food hall to launch next week

Apr 10 2023, 11:09 pm

Editorial Note April 13, 2023: Food Republic will no longer be opening on April 17. Keep an eye on the delayed opening date by checking its socials.

In an effort to overcome some of the many issues plaguing the restaurant industry lately, one Vancouver food brand is looking to some very iRobot-esque solutions.

Food Republic, conceptualized by NextGen Kitchens group, will be Vancouver’s very first digital food hall, which aims to deal with the issues of rising food costs, expensive real estate, and labour shortages.

If you find yourself asking “What’s a digital food hall?” you’re not alone.

Essentially, Food Republic will function as one central space where multiple food vendors will operate, but items from each menu will be available for purchase under the same bill.

“This streamlines the ordering process and eliminates the need for customers to juggle multiple bills and receipts,” NextGen explains to Dished.

Located at 488 Robson Street, the former address of The Chopped Leaf, Food Republic bills itself as “a forward-thinking solution to some of the biggest challenges facing the restaurant industry today.”

Founded by Ashkan Mirnabavi, a restaurateur and the founder of NextGen Kitchens, Food Republic was conceived with the help of “two of his closest friends who were experts in the field of robotics.” This collaboration led to the creation of Cibotica, a robotic system that “acts as a restaurant’s helping hand.”

Food Republic hopes that Cibotica will help to “streamline operations, create more engaged staff, and provide a better customer experience,” the concept tells us, though this robotics system won’t be in place until later this year.

For its launch, four different food concepts will operate out of the space: One Spot, Rad Salad, Chicken & Co., and WOW Bao, offering a range of dishes from pizza to bao to BBQ chicken.

This spot will offer take-out options only, with no dine-in seating, but patrons will be able to mix and match from the four different menus while still only paying one single bill, all ordered through the same Food Republic app.

The concept has yet to divulge what role exactly the robotics system Cibotica will play in the preparation of food and how it will help solve some of the industry’s issues, but we’re certainly curious to find out.

Originally scheduled to open to the public on April 17, Food Republic has delayed its grand opening due to “operational challenges.”

When it does open, Food Republic will operate daily from 10 am to 10 pm.

Food Republic

Address: 488 Robson Street, Vancouver


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