Chipotle Founder and ex-CEO Steve Ells may be getting back into the fast casual game with Kernel, a plant-based, robot-powered concept, according to the New York Post. The 56-year-old entrepreneur has been pitching investors since last year on the business idea, which “fundamentally rethinks labor, technology, real estate and menu,” according to the news report.
Although FastCasual has not yet been able to verify the report, the Post reported the restaurant has proved “a 3-person labor model can work,” according to draft investor materials it obtained but did not publish in order to “protect the anonymity of a source.”
The pitch deck included mock-ups and photos of the New York City-based kitchen featuring three employee workstations with computer screens, robotic arms and slots and chutes for an assembly line.
Ells is self-funding the startup before launching a fundraising round, which could approach $30 million to $50 million, according to the Post.