- The phrase “No Quinoa” is branded on T-shirts and laptop stickers at CloudKitchens.
- The phrase comes from CloudKitchens CEO Travis Kalanick’s days at Uber.
- Kalanick has mimicked some of the aspects of Uber’s work culture at the startup, Insider reported.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Uber founder Travis Kalanick once got upset at an employee for asking why the company’s cafeteria no longer served quinoa.
Kalanick, who was Uber’s CEO at the time, was annoyed that the employee would complain about quinoa in the midst of an all-hands meeting instead of focusing on work.
The story lingered for Kalanick, according to an exclusive report by Insider’s Meghan Morris. Now at his $5 billion startup CloudKitchens, the phrase “No Quinoa” is branded on some employees’ T-shirts and laptop stickers, sources told Morris. Some new hires are also told the “No Quinoa” tale as a warning to stay focused on the company’s mission.
The culture at Los Angeles-based CloudKitchens mimics that at Uber during Kalanick’s time at the ride-hailing company. CloudKitchens doesn’t offer many of the posh perks, like laundry service and nap pods, that have become common among other Silicon Valley companies. Kalanick wants employees’ focus to instead remain on company’s core work – a sentiment that is expressed in phrases like “no quinoa.”
CloudKitchens declined to comment on Insider’s investigation.
In 2018, Kalanick invested in City Storage Systems, renamed it, and took over as CEO. Since then, it has expanded to at least 29 cities in the US and brought on customers including Chick-fil-A and Wendy’s.