Some scrappy restaurateurs are using existing staff and kitchen facilities to launch virtual restaurants within existing restaurants to capture the growing digital demand from hungry diners, without increasing their labor.
Dauntless and always looking for ways to optimize, the incubators approach is to come up with a unique restaurant concept, a new name and logo, and a new menu, and then sign up to one (or several) of the third party delivery apps (more on them in a minute) in their area to promote their virtual restaurants on their platform.
No additional storefront to manage, no additional rent, no additional staff required.
There have been some glowing success stories of restaurants breaking into the virtual restaurant space by using their existing facilities to incubate a brand new virtual restaurant:
Simon Mikhail opened his virtual restaurant concept Si’s Chicken Kitchen in 2016 out of his pizzeria. By 2017, Mikhail averaged about $1,000 per week selling fried chicken, chicken tenders and chicken pizza, surpassing the weekly sales of his original pizza concept.
Jack Chaiyarat, owner of the sushi restaurant Rice Café launched his Poke Café virtual concept on Uber Eats, and according to Restaurant Hospitality now “does about 100 orders per week, which [Chaiyarat] said is more than $2,000 in sales.”.
Joel Farmer, co-owner of Gerizim Cafe & Ice Cream launched his virtual restaurant Brooklyn Burger Factory on Aug 1, 2018, and is “now selling as many as 75 burgers a day, with revenue 28 times that,” Bloomberg reports.