MRM Update: Pilotworks’ Crash Landing

Pilotworks, the nation’s largest on demand kitchen space, abruptly ceased operations on October 13. 

A message posted on its site reads, 

"It is with a heavy heart that after failing to raise the necessary capital to continue operations, Pilotworks will cease operations on October 13th, 2018. We realize the shock of this news and the disruption it causes for the independent food community we were so honored to serve. This is a sad outcome for Pilotworks, the makers in our kitchens, and independent food in general. We wish there was another option to continue operating. Sadly, there was not. The work the independent food community is doing is amazing and inspiring. We know it will live on and we are deeply sorry it will not be with Pilotworks."

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In May, Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine visited  a facility in Newark, New Jersey. In this MRM Profile, Pilotworks Newark GM Ted Rosen and Makiko Ishida, Founder of Alter Native Foods discuss the Pilotworks experience. 

Co-founders Mike Dee and Nick Devane acquired the first kitchen in September 2016 as a way of supporting emerging food startups. Since its launch, Pilotworks has helped 250-plus nascent food and beverage businesses start and scale. The businesses in the kitchen are more than 70 percent women and minority-owned.

The kitchens provided access to flexible cooking infrastructure and equipment that rents by the hour and month, lowering the barrier to entry to young culinary entrepreneurs. They played host to market vendors, QSRs, CPG companies, bakers, caterers, delivery-only concepts, ice cream makers, chocolatiers, meal preppers and many other forms of culinary entrepreneurs. The company also connects their members with access to their network of 75-plus mentors that help with a wide range of topics, including fundraising, legal, social media strategy, recipe development, sourcing, branding and accounting.

Pilotworks spurred business growth for food businesses including Aida Eats, Mac & Son, BOONBOX, Dank and Crown Jewel Beverages.