Customer Comes First
We call our customers our guests and strive to improve their experience with every decision we make.
Our guests are often the people ordering food for their entire family or folks who want to mix-and-match across a wide array of cuisines. Every decision we make starts with the guest experience in mind and we prioritize based on their needs. We hold true to this even at moments when it's uncomfortable for us personally or our operations. That might mean personally delivering an order to ensure it makes it on time, answering a support email at midnight, or staying open on Christmas Eve. We do this because we know that delivering a world-class, reliable, and convenient experience will distinguish us in the market.
We solicit feedback from every order and all engineers and co-founders read every single sentence of guest feedback. We respond to every Yelp review and reply to 90% of our support requests in <1 minute. Engineers interact with guests daily via email or for user research in-store or over Zoom. Last but not least, once a month, everyone in the company signs up for a shift as a greeter in one of our locations and writes up their insights from the experience. It would be easier to sit at our desk and code. However, as we bring our technical backgrounds to the food industry, we must also prioritize the human experience. By keeping a tight feedback loop with our customers, we ensure that we’re building the best product that serves them.
We’re obsessed with using data to inform every decision.
Anything is open for debate, provided the argument is backed by data. To that end, we rely heavily on Segment, Snowflake, Dbt, and Mode for Business Intelligence. We use a combination of LaunchDarkly and Amplitude for A/B testing and Full Story to replay user sessions and uncover UX insights.
Individually, engineers own a set of metrics that they are responsible for analyzing, reporting, and developing a product roadmap against. We also believe in self-serve analytics. Regardless of job title, everyone in the company analyzes data.
We’re on a quest to build 2,000 stores.
At Local Kitchens, we’re helping local restaurants expand to new cities thanks to our network of micro food halls and we’re elevating fast food selection for families in suburban communities. We’re starting from a world-class guest experience and working backwards from there. Since building in the physical world is traditionally slow – and guests’ expectations are constantly increasing – speed is our most controllable advantage in leading the market. Therefore, we have a bias for action – we beg for forgiveness instead of asking permission! We often put in long hours in pursuit of improving the guest experience, because that's our biggest differentiator.
In just one year, we’ve built web ordering, an in-store kiosk, a mobile app, a Kitchen Display System, and a fleet of third-party integrations and software amounting to our KitchenOS. We’ve done all this with a small team of four, deploying to production many times per day. In order to move fast, we believe in empowering engineers with decision-making autonomy in their domain. It’s an exciting time to join the team. We closed a $25M Series A in 2021, ramped to $10 million in sales within one year, and are planning to build 2,000 stores by 2030.
We go where the work is!
We’re product-focused engineers and we view code as one of many tools in our toolbox that we use to deliver an incredible guest experience. Every engineer owns and maintains their own product roadmap with associated metrics. They also spend time in the field. We go wherever the work is, which could mean seeing the product live and soliciting feedback, conducting user research, or actually rolling up our sleeves and working a shift in one of our restaurant locations. We believe the best products are built with our users, not for them. As a result, engineers are directly involved in the product discovery process and have often surfaced new opportunities, designed, built, and launched solutions end-to-end.
Every engineer is an owner.
For us, ownership is everything from ideation to impact. Through hands-on research with guests or collaboration with our kitchen teams, you may uncover an insight that leads directly to a new feature on the roadmap. As an engineer, you’ll have a seat at the table with product and design from the very beginning. You may even design a feature yourself, coordinate the marketing launch, and write the announcement copy!
In December, Michael Parlato, the lead for the guest experience team began working on our mobile ordering app. The project gave him the opportunity to learn a new framework, run a beta test in which he received direct feedback from dozens of enthusiastic end users, and push the limits for fast-paced, agile development. “Through phone interviews with guests, I was able to refine our definition of launch-ready, narrow the scope to the absolute essentials, and move the App Store launch up by three weeks.”
Committed to Personal Growth
Our goal is to get 1% better every day.
We want everyone to experience personal growth while they are here and we make it a point to discuss career growth during 1:1s with your manager. Whether you level up as an IC or move into a managerial role, we can promise there’s no shortage of interesting problems to work on. Local Kitchens is inherently cross-functional as we’re putting operations, technology, and a hands-on food experience under one roof. Our company currently has ~30 people and all of our engineers work directly with non-engineers in some way. You’ll own your own product roadmap, launch criteria, the associated success metrics, and likely find yourself presenting in our Weekly Business Review and Weekly Product Reviews.
Eduardo Baik, who leads our KitchenOS team, is a great example. He is actively working on two exciting technical challenges. The first is an algorithm for dynamically setting cook time predictions based on how many orders are currently in the kitchen and where the active bottlenecks in the queue are. This will allow us to (a) maximize freshness (by ensuring that food is not sitting out getting cold while waiting for another item to be completed) and (b) minimize customer wait times (by enabling us to accurately communicate to the guest when their order will be completed).The second challenge is a real-time menu inventory system that will collect low inventory counts from our kitchen and automatically mark items out of stock as sales come in. This will make sure that our web, mobile, and kiosk always reflect accurate inventory and prevent us from overselling orders we can’t fulfill.
Eduardo worked shifts in several kitchens to identify these product opportunities and rapidly iterated on prototypes to quickly gather feedback. “As a software engineer, I think it is very powerful and motivating that we are able to visit our kitchens and collect direct product feedback. You are able to see the impact that you are making not only for our guests, but also for our cooks, kitchen managers, greeters, and every person in the kitchen.”
We’re building an experience that spans the world of bits and atoms.
We’re all a part of one team striving toward the same goal. Engineers work directly with our Kitchen teams on launching and iterating on KitchenOS software. Most of our product challenges tend to be cross-functional in nature, and solving them requires a multidisciplinary effort. We aren’t just building software, we’re building an experience that spans the world of bits and atoms. In our product reviews, we go beyond discussing how the user interacts with the UI elements on the screen – instead we step into their mindset in the kitchen.
We value in-person collaboration and typically work from the office, though we are great at distributed work since our stores are geographically distributed. We hire remotely in markets we are operating in and fly engineers to San Francisco once every other month for in-person collaboration.
Impressive Team Members
Our Team was on the founding team at DoorDash – a $50 billion dollar company.
Our team was part of the founding team at DoorDash and CAVA. We’ve got several early DoorDash team members, as well as former execs from Momofuku, and engineers from Segment. That said, experience in the food tech industry isn’t a prerequisite to join the team and we’re open to many different kinds of backgrounds. Even more than expertise, we value first principles thinkers who won’t be constrained by convention. We also value multidisciplinary backgrounds, since the problems we solve are heavily multifaceted. In fact, several of the engineers on our team graduated from bootcamps and previously came from math, biotech, real estate, or psychology fields. This is a one-of-a-kind team to join for someone with an interdisciplinary background, who eventually wants to found a company themselves. You’ll receive mentorship and direct access to founders while experiencing first-hand what it's like to own a critical business function. If you’re passionate about helping local restaurants thrive, we encourage you to reach out.