A platform for makers
A new company called Kaiten puts a name, a face, a place, a story to creators around the world to better our own dining experiences.
Earlier this week, Expedite covered a New York Times investigation sharing stories about food delivery in Los Angeles, focusing on the tough math involved in the way couriers are paid for their work.
It was a look at both the current state and economics of food delivery and an acknowledgement that what worked during the pandemic — especially no-contact delivery — has truly changed the way we interact with some restaurants. Years ago, speed and ease of convenient delivery was the goal. That’s ubiquitous now, as entire transactions have been optimized for speed, efficiency, and faceless delivery.
But as I noted on Tuesday, losing sight — literally — of the people involved in the convenience of food delivery further distances us from everyone involved in producing what we eat.
Daniel Shein is the founder and CEO of Kaiten, a platform born of a technology company that was born of a New York City restaurant. Kaiten focuses on “makers” around the world — chefs, artisans, bakers, and other creators with fascinating stories and high-quality products. (I used Kaiten to buy a knife hand-forged from the sea of Galilee for my husband as a birthday gift recently, take that, Etsy.)
In a lot of ways, it’s the opposite focus of what we’re used to hearing; it’s not speed and efficiency that drives utility on Kaiten, it’s a focus on what’s interesting and worth waiting for. I talked to Shein about his company and why it’s particularly important right now.
Our conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Expedite: Give me the elevator pitch.
Daniel Shein: “Kaiten is a discovery platform that brings together amazing makers, primarily artisanal in the culinary world, from around the world in one place. We focus on the full dining experience — anything from sake to a knife to prepared meals. We scour the world and find people who are doing interesting things, and let customers who love the dining world explore and incorporate more of those delights into their everyday.”
After everything you’ve done — you’re an ex-restaurateur, you ran a hospitality technology company — how did you land on this maker angle?
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