A virtual restaurant is a food service business that serves customers exclusively by delivery based on phone orders or online food ordering. It is a separate food vendor entity that operates out of an existing restaurant's kitchen. By not having a full-service restaurant premise with a storefront and dining room, virtual restaurants can economize by occupying cheaper real estate. This is in contrast to a ghost kitchen which is a co-working concept for meal preparation with no retail presence that a restaurant/brand or multiple restaurants can buy into.
Virtual restaurants are set up within existing restaurants, allowing businesses to cut costs by sharing space. Virtual restaurants also save money by avoiding dine-in service through reliance on delivery service. Virtual restaurants rely on their own delivery drivers or third-party delivery apps such as Grubhub, Uber Eats, Postmates and DoorDash to deliver food to customers. However, some companies also incorporate their own delivery system into the business model.
A typical virtual restaurant location is able to accommodate the preparation of several different types of cuisines. The strategy of having multiple brands and cuisines can target a broader range of customers. Food can be prepared by specialty chefs or any range of cooks. Virtual restaurants are intended for people looking for culinary foods and convenience, often locally or within close proximity to them.
Virtual restaurants have become popular during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the increase in social distancing and work-from-home policies. Uber Eats has helped launch over 4,000 virtual restaurants around the world.
Ghost restaurants have been criticized for their unpleasant working conditions and cramped, windowless kitchen spaces. Several 2015 news articles found some "ghost restaurants" operated as unregulated, unlicensed standalone entities or as "fronts" for restaurants that might or might not have health code violations.
Some examples of virtual restaurants include Pasqually's Pizza & Wings which operates out of Chuck E. Cheese, Wing Squad which operates out of Buca di Beppo, Neighborhood Wings which operates out of Applebee's, It's Just Wings which operates out of Chili's, and The Wing Experience and The Burger Experience which operate out of Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill.
In 2020, rapper Tyga partnered with Robert Earl and Virtual Dining Concepts to launch a series of virtual restaurants called Tyga Bites which is delivery only through Grubhub and operates out of existing restaurants' kitchens.
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if you have a 6,000 square foot kitchen you can make very high-quality food and have many different styles of cuisine coming from the same kitchen.
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Butcher Block, Milk Money and Leafage share the same address, chefs and owner.
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