Travis Kalanick’s follow-up to Uber, a caboodle of secretive ghost kitchens, suffered a break-in and a fire last week at a SoMa location.
Before COVID-19 came along and destroyed the local restaurant industry (which is currently at Phase Al Fresco of the reopening continuum), the prior existential threat to the industry had been the proliferation of online-only restaurants masquerading as real restaurants, outfits colloquially known as ghost kitchens. They prefer to be called “smart kitchens” or “cloud kitchens,” and in the case of disgraced former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s new venture, it’s literally called CloudKitchens. And the one here in San Francisco, located in a little-noticed corner on the alley Morris Street, was hit with an alleged arson attempt and a fire last week at the height of the George Floyd unrest, according to a Bloomberg report.
Below are photos of the suspect who put the lives of our neighbors in jeopardy. Pls contact the SFPD - Southern Station or email us at [email protected] if you have any information pic.twitter.com/Y3VwRpojrB— CloudKitchens (@CloudKitchens) June 10, 2020
The CloudKitchens Twitter has never tweeted prior to this incident, but their one thread ever, composed Wednesday, can be seen above and below. “At 4:52am on Monday a suspected arsonist entered our facility in San Francisco. He disconnected & destroyed the security cameras in the facility. A fire started in the facility prior to his exiting at 5:02am,” the account claims, with security images and video to back this up. They also add that “Tuesday around 8:50pm, there was another fire at the same facility.”
We get a glimpse of the intruder — who is at least wearing a mask! But probably not for public health reasons — and in the security video, we see him disabling the security camera. The intruder’s motive is not clear, as there is no evidence of any attempted burglary, and the intruder may not even realize it’s Travis Kalanick’s place. Bloomberg reports that the SFPD “investigation is open and that no arrest has been made in the case.”
Here is a photo of the damage. It was contained by the quick response of the SF Fire Department. Fortunately there was only minor damage to a single interior wall in the facility. Looking to have the wall patched and be back up and running tomorrow pic.twitter.com/GMKxVAOVyf— CloudKitchens (@CloudKitchens) June 10, 2020
CloudKitchens posted these images in an apparent plea for help identifying the suspect, but these photos are also kind of a self-own in showing what a crappy and unclean food preparation facility this place is. This is a startup that has $400 million in Saudi Arabian investment money, but of course, dreadful conditions in place for Kalanick’s sub-minimum wage contractor commoners. As Eater SF notes in their write-up, it is quite difficult to find these ghost kitchens’ DPH health scores, but the ‘hack’ they found through the DPH is that you have to enter the adjacent address “475 06th” to see these ghost kitchens’ scores. Did any of them receive the Department of Public Health Symbol of Excellence? Have a look below and see!
Sure, lots of people would take pleasure in someone burning Kalanick’s venture to the ground during these weeks of nationwide protest. But there are adjacent homes businesses to worry about too, and those poor people have already suffered enough from CloudKitchens’ constant flouting of parking laws uncovered in a February Broke-Ass Stuart investigation. Still, given the facility’s shockingly low-budget interior, we can’t imagine a fire there would represent significant financial damages.
Image: CloudKitchens via Twitter