3 Benefits to Opening a Virtual Restaurant

Since 2014, online ordering has grown 300% faster than dine-in traffic.  This growth in off-premise and takeout orders has increased production demands for restaurants nationwide.  To keep up, restaurants have done everything from designating shelves for pick-up to reducing dine-in areas to make room for takeout foot traffic.  

This explosive growth has also allowed restaurants to think creatively about how they can capture even more off-premise business.  Enter the virtual restaurant: an in-house solution to increase your off-premise order volume in a flexible and low-cost way, via new concept and positioning opportunities. There are numerous benefits to operating a virtual restaurant out of your existing location.

Branding and Concept-Testing Opportunities

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to test out a dinner menu for your breakfast-forward restaurant?  Is there a portion of your menu you’re looking to expand in both content and sales? Create an in-house virtual restaurant that uses your existing prep space, but only preps digital orders!

For example, a cafe called Pancake Paradise that is open all day but normally sees business die down midday can utilize their kitchen space to test a dinner concept called Pizza Palace that is open from 5-11pm. Pizza Palace will only be available for delivery online, and will not be outwardly associated with Pancake Paradise, but the menu items will be prepared in the existing kitchen. Similarly, an all-day neighborhood restaurant that sells mostly appetizers and entrées online can take their existing salad and sandwich options and spin them up into a new virtual concept to increase online sales of those items.

Appeal to a Broader Diner Base

Does your menu contain mostly high-ticket items that deter diners from ordering delivery? Do your guests tend to order as a family or group, and you want to reach more solo young professionals?

A steakhouse can explore a virtual restaurant that offers burgers, or a sushi restaurant can focus on poke bowls, as ways to improve ingredient utilization and broaden their online appeal across price points and occasions.  That all-day neighborhood restaurant’s virtual concept around salads and sandwiches can attract the solo diner that they’re not currently capturing online.

Capture excess Grubhub marketplace demand

Grubhub’s data-driven insights about diner search behavior, what restaurants the market needs, and the most popular local items can help guide your concept selection and menu optimization. Our enterprise team is dedicated to helping partners explore this opportunity and launch new virtual restaurants that operate from your existing kitchen space in order to provide sales that complement your existing online and in-store peak demand periods. 

Curious about exploring a virtual kitchen for your restaurant brand? Grubhub can help you with that.

Jenna Calderara

Jenna Calderara

Jenna Calderara is the B2B Content Manager on the Marketing Team at Grubhub and LevelUp Agency. She is also a big fan of soup. When she’s not at work she enjoys cooking, blogging about wellness, and trying new Boston-area restaurants. If you’re interested in vegetarian recipes, follow her on Instagram @jennacalderara or on Twitter @jenrara for daily musings.

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