Virtual restaurants:
The food industry’s
secret weapon


2020 upended the restaurant industry. But it also unleashed some amazing creativity and innovation. Among the most exciting examples: virtual restaurants. See how this emerging trend can put you on the road to success.

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Virtual restaurants typically share a kitchen with an existing brick-and-mortar restaurant to prepare and package orders. Customers order from a secondary menu that’s available exclusively online and for delivery. Those orders are prepared by the existing restaurant’s staff alongside orders for the primary business.

A virtual restaurant is a delivery-only restaurant concept that is operated from an existing brick and mortar restaurant location. Some restauranteurs will create a DIY virtual restaurant concept, while others will partner with a third-party provider, like Grubhub, to launch a pre-built, established branded virtual restaurant.

Virtual restaurants can take a variety of forms, but two of the most popular approaches are:

DIY virtual restaurant: Restaurateurs create their own virtual restaurant to drive more business and reach more customers with new flavors and concepts.

Branded virtual restaurant: A restauranteur launches a pre-built, established virtual restaurant created by a third-party partner, like Grubhub. The partner handles the menu, branding, packaging, marketing, and more. The independent restaurateur handles cooking the food and fulfilling the orders with their existing kitchen and staff.