What are Virtual Brands?
The term “virtual brand” refers to a company or product that only exists online. There is no brick-and-mortar location, not even for pick-up. A virtual brand restaurant chain specializes in online ordering and delivery. Virtual brands can be operated from the kitchen of an existing restaurant or establishment, or the food may be prepared in a “dark kitchen” – that is, a kitchen that does not have a storefront. Virtual brands have existed for a few years, but their rapid proliferation in 2020 can be attributed to the global pandemic, which resulted in forced restaurant closures and a massive increase in food delivery. A “restaurant” that only exists “virtually” is said to be a virtual kitchen. They use applications and integrations to provide food directly to customers’ homes. Since 2021, simplicity has been the focus. For this reason, the popularity of food delivery services has skyrocketed in the past few years. As the need for tasty food to be delivered grew, so did the number of “ghost kitchens” and “virtual restaurants.” Despite their frequent synonymity, these concepts are quite distinct from one another.
Simply put, “ghost kitchens” are kitchens that prepare food exclusively for delivery. They operate out of a kitchen that they have hired for that purpose rather than a storefront. The company’s primary goal is to fulfill a large number of delivery orders at a low price, rather than to run a “traditional” restaurant. “Virtual restaurants” or “virtual brands” are delivery-only concepts based in physical restaurants. Some owners believe that employing their employees for two businesses, one for delivery and one for FOH service, is advantageous. Diversifying the business model can grant restaurants access to delivery consumers who were previously inaccessible due to insurmountable logistical obstacles. They also provide opportunities for successful delivery-only concepts to expand into additional markets.
With virtual restaurant brands, the possibilities are endless. No location, no problem – just great food delivered straight to your door.
Delivery-only restaurant concepts are represented by “ghost kitchens.” They are restaurant brands that operate from adaptable commercial kitchens. To reach customers, ghost kitchens develop their distribution system or invest in third-party delivery services. Various locations can function as phantom kitchens. They can be out of shadowy kitchens, shared kitchens, and sometimes even brick-and-mortar restaurants seeking to increase delivery sales. These adaptable business models are ideal for restaurateurs who want to capitalize on the demand for restaurant-quality delivery.
Cloud kitchens resemble ghost kitchens in many ways. In response to the rising demand for restaurant-quality delivery, they occupy the same market niche. Cloud kitchens, on the other hand, are delivery-only restaurants that franchise their brand and menu to other chefs and kitchens. The cloud kitchen strategy enables a successful brand to flourish in the delivery-only market by expanding into dark kitchens, brick-and-mortar kitchens, and commissary spaces, thereby expanding the business’s reach. Some cloud kitchen concepts are merely rebranding of popular menus franchised to restaurant owners.
At Millennial Foods, we take a different approach to the delivery-only restaurant industry. While other players in the market focus on renting out kitchens or creating new delivery-only concepts, we collaborate with existing restaurants and commercial kitchens to increase sales and expand their reach through online ordering and delivery. Our goal is to enhance the menus of our partner restaurants while maintaining their brand identity and core competencies. We specialize in providing expertise in online ordering and delivery logistics, allowing our partner restaurants to focus on what they do best: creating delicious food. Through our partnership, restaurants can tap into the growing demand for food delivery services and reach a wider audience of customers.
Are you ready to start your own Virtual Restaurant Brand? Contact us today to schedule a call with one of our representatives and discover what all the buzz is about!