What Is A Virtual Restaurant?
Let’s first start by defining a “virtual restaurant”.
Virtual restaurants are delivery-only food concepts that operate out of existing restaurants or commercial kitchens. They accept orders exclusively online through apps and websites like UberEats, DoorDash, and Skip the Dishes. Virtual restaurant customers order from a separate menu, available exclusively online, and their orders are prepared by existing restaurant staff using existing kitchen equipment. In most cases, customers are less concerned with where the food is made and are more focused on whether it delivers on the promises of flavour, presentation, and speed.
There Are Two Broad Approaches To Virtual Restaurants
Creating your own virtual restaurant
In this case, restaurateurs create their own virtual restaurant concept to reach more customers and offer more delivery options. This could be something like a standalone chicken wing or gourmet burger concept operating out of an existing fast casual restaurant. The restaurateurs spend the time to create a brand, menu, marketing, and to post and manage the menus on 3rd Party Deliver apps.
Customers who order from the new concepts may never be aware that they are ordering from the fast casual restaurant even though their meal is prepared using the same kitchen, ingredients, and staff.
Using third-party branded virtual restaurants
In this case, the work which goes into creating virtual restaurants including menu development, branding, costing, marketing, and packaging is done by a company which specializes in developing virtual restaurants, and often creates and manages a whole portfolio of virtual restaurant brands, giving partner kitchens access to a whole range of professional, polished brands.
In this case, restaurants and kitchens operate as fulfillment partners. Freed from the time and risk involved in developing menus, branding, packaging, and marketing, the kitchen partner can focus on cooking the food and fulfilling the orders with their existing kitchen and staff.
Why Virtual Restaurants?
Virtual Restaurants Are Here To Stay
With growth supercharged by the Covid-19 pandemic, experts in the field estimate that, worldwide by 2030, virtual restaurants will make up:
50% of take-out service
50% of drive-thru service
$250 billion in sales
Your restaurant is limited by its number of seats, but virtual restaurants offer a way to bring new orders and revenue to your business without extra investment and overhead and with minimal impact on your core operations.
Here’s what a virtual restaurant can give restaurants:
Access to new incremental revenue streams:
Virtual restaurants provide a way for brick-and mortar restaurants to bring in new orders, customers, and delivery sales without having to open a new physical location.
Business growth without adding overhead:
You can use the same staff and kitchen, and many of the same ingredients to operate a virtual restaurant
Rapid ability to evolve and adapt:
Virtual restaurants can launch in about 1/4 the time of a physical restaurant concept–as little as three weeks! Partner kitchens are also liberated from the risk of an unsuccessful virtual brand. If one doesn’t work, it can be replaced with another from the portfolio to stay on top of market trends.
Access to new customers:
With a brand-new concept being prepared from your existing space offering a distinct menu and cuisine type, you’ll be able to attract an entirely new set of customers, including those who may not be tempted by your brick and mortar brand.
Increased exposure on third party delivery sites:
At Meal Ticket Brands, we like to describe our virtual restaurants as “digital storefronts.” When a customer visits a third-party food delivery service like Uber Eats or Skip the Dishes, having only one brand limits your exposure during their shopping process. Each additional delivery brand you can add increases your visibility and gives diners more opportunities to order from your kitchen.
Why Meal Ticket Brands?
Partnering For Success
For many restauranteurs, developing menus and brands is part of the creative joy they get from being in the hospitality industry, so they ask:
“Why don’t I just develop my own virtual restaurant instead of working with you? Here’s a comparison of what is involved in each approach.“
Meal Ticket Brands Virtual Restaurants:
● Are the full package: Meal Ticket Brands has done all the work and checked all the boxes needed to launch. They have fully developed concepts and menu, professional branding and packaging, and effective marketing campaigns.
● Can be rolled out quickly: Being fully developed and ready for turnkey rollout, Meal Ticket Brands virtual restaurants can add a new revenue stream to restaurants quickly. With concept, packaging, marketing, being more fully developed, the lead time to taking orders can be very short.
● Have been field tested: With extensive time spent testing and developing each virtual restaurant, Meal Ticket Brands has worked through all the kinks in the system so that you don’t have to.
● Come with a team to support you: When you’re rolling out a Meal Ticket Brands virtual restaurant, you’ll have a full support team to help train your team before launch, then you’ll have operational and marketing support to ensure your success.
● Are established: Meal Ticket Brands virtual restaurants come with marketing campaigns and an established digital presence allowing consumers to gather the information and research needed to make their ordering decisions.
Developing your own virtual restaurant means:
● Longer timelines: Developing a new virtual restaurant concept and menu from scratch is both time and energy intensive.
● Higher start-up costs: From developing a new concept and menu to branding, packaging, marketing and promotion, the costs of creating your own virtual restaurant can add up.
● Limited exposure: A brand-new virtual restaurant concept with no established brand recognition or solid marketing plan can take a long time to gain traction online. It could be a while before you build up a customer base and start seeing a return on your investment.
● No third-party sales commissions: Most third-party virtual restaurant companies are reimbursed through a percentage of sales, however the expenses and risks associated with creating and maintaining your own virtual brands often far outweigh the costs of these commissions.
● Ongoing Investment: The digital food delivery space is crowded, and getting noticed requires ongoing investment in in-app promotion, search engine marketing, and social media content and management.
At Meal Ticket Brands, we take the time to understand the nuances and uniqueness of each kitchen partner. We take into account a whole host of variables like location, staff, market interest/saturation, local appetites, supply chain/COGs, business objectives, kitchen capacity, and hours of operation, and then recommend the MTB brands which will set the kitchen partner for success without negatively impacting their existing operation.
The Meal Ticket team is constantly working and fine-tuning brands and products, testing and perfecting concepts through our family of brick-and-mortar restaurants.
While other third-party virtual restaurant companies are less focussed on partner success than on their own, Meal Ticket Brands is building long-term relationships which bring success to both parties.
Creating your own virtual restaurant
launching a branded virtual restaurant
|Who Handles?||Meal Ticket Brands||Create your own virtual restaurant|
|Menu Testing & Creation||US||YOU|
|Marketing & Social Media||US||YOU|
|Delivery App Setup||US||YOU|
|Receiving & Fulfilling Orders||YOU||YOU|
How It Works
You Fulfill the Orders. We Do the Rest.
Here’s what the process looks like:
- Curated Brands:
Meal Ticket Brands works with you to select brands that are the right fit for each kitchen partner’s team and restaurant
- Complete Support:
The Meal Ticket team handles absolutely everything – a thorough program for menus, recipes, training, branding, marketing, promotions, technology
- Ordering & Inventory:
Meal Ticket Brands helps restaurants with ordering inventory for packaging and ingredients.
- Big Digital Presence:
Meal Ticket Brands places each virtual restaurant brand on UberEats, DoorDash, and SkipTheDishes, multiplying the number of digital storefronts and increasing incremental revenue potential
- Simple to Execute:
Customers find the brands digitally where they place an order, which is prepared by the kitchen partner and handed to the delivery driver. It’s that simple
- Low Start-up Costs:
The only expenses necessary for start-up are packaging for orders, and whatever ingredients not currently carried in the partner kitchen pantry
- Prompt Payment:
Kitchen partners are paid promptly for the orders, less commission and delivery fees.