Virtual restaurants are a great way for hospitality businesses to make more money. They diversify your income, help you reach more customers, and boost your food orders.
But if you’re new to the idea, how exactly do you start your own virtual restaurant?
To get you started on the right foot, we’ve outlined 5 steps you can follow to launch your own virtual restaurant (and why partnering with a delivery franchise company can help you succeed).
A virtual restaurant (also known as a virtual brand or virtual kitchen) is an online-only restaurant. It operates out of an existing kitchen, but it has its own brand and menu.
Take a look at our virtual restaurant brands as an example. Our partners use these brands to run a food-delivery operation from their kitchen. The brands include online menus, food packaging, and full logistical support to get set up for delivery.
Then, their online customers then order the food through third-party delivery apps like Just East, Deliveroo, and Uber Eats.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of running a virtual brand from your existing kitchen.
Unlike a traditional brick-and-mortar kitchen, a virtual kitchen can improve your business with less hassle and lower risk. Here’s how:
Launching a virtual kitchen helps you diversify your income. You’re no longer relying on one source of revenue, which means you’re protecting your business and helping it grow at the same time. It’s a win-win!
Think about days when you have slow periods and not as many customers coming through the door. With a virtual kitchen in place, you can still generate income with online orders — even when it’s a slow day.
By offering a food-delivery service, you’re attracting that audience and giving yourself a new opportunity to make money.
Let’s put it into perspective.
In 2022, there were 260 million takeaway orders on Just Eat in the UK — and that’s just one delivery platform.
Now, we’re not saying that your online orders will reach all 260 million Just Eat customers (as great as that would be for business). But think about what this figure represents. It’s a lot of people ordering food online who probably wouldn’t visit your dine-in location.
Here are some stats that highlight popular cuisines for online food delivery.
If you’re not sure which type of food works best for your kitchen, get in touch with the team at Peckwater.
We’ll review local market data to find a virtual brand that’s right for customers in your area. Plus, we’ll take your operations and existing ingredients into account to make it as easy as possible to run a food delivery operation from your kitchen.
Take a look at the following steps to find out how to launch a virtual brand from your existing kitchen.
When it comes to launching a virtual kitchen, you have two options to choose from:
There’s no right or wrong choice here. You just need to decide whether you want to design your own food brand, or use an expert to identify the best brands for your business.
If you opt to create your own virtual restaurant, you’ll need to review the competition in your local area.
Because this will tell you:
To review your competition, take a look online at third-party delivery apps (like Uber Eats, Just Eat, and Deliveroo) to see what sort of food is in your vicinity. Review their menus, branding, and prices to get a better idea of what you could sell to appeal to a similar customer base.
If this sounds like too much effort, or you’re worried that you might not find the right type of food for your business, reach out to us. We’ll do all this hard work for you, and our industry experts will review local data to find the perfect virtual brand for your business.
After choosing what type of food to create, you can now create your online menu.
Here are a couple of best practices to think about when creating your menu:
We don’t want to sound like a broken record, but working with an expert will make this process much easier.
For example, our partners don’t have to worry about creating any menus at all. We design all the menus, and even provide training to all staff so they know how to prepare the food. Take a look at some of our case studies to see how our partners benefit from working with us.
There’s a lot of technology involved in successfully launching a virtual brand. You need to think about your point-of-sale system, your delivery channels, and so on.
Fortunately, there are platforms out there that help you combine all the necessary technology into one location.
Deliverect is a great example. With Deliverect, you can directly connect all your delivery channels to your POS system, streamlining your entire delivery flow.
In other words, it centralises all your software so you can manage all your online orders with one system. That way, you don’t have to worry about flicking back and forth between different platforms to keep track of your orders.
When your virtual brand is up and running, you’ll need to do all you can to help your brand reach as many customers as possible in your local area.
Here are some tips to increase your reach and (hopefully) boost your online orders:
We know that having the time, money, and resources to promote a virtual restaurant isn’t possible for every business. The good news is that if you partner with Peckwater Brands, we’ll handle all the marketing for you.
We’ll also track and monitor your marketing performance. If things can be improved, we’ll make the changes so you can see better results.
Do you still have some unanswered questions about virtual restaurants? Don’t worry. We’ve answered some of the most popular questions about running a virtual restaurant.
Running a virtual restaurant from home isn’t generally possible, mostly because they typically run out of a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Plus, there are various factors to consider when running a food-delivery operation from your home. For example, local regulations, licensing requirements, and the nature of your home environment.
Unlike a virtual restaurant, a ghost kitchen (sometimes called a dark kitchen) isn’t part of a regular kitchen operation. Instead, the food is prepared in a kitchen that’s only used for food delivery. It’s not open to the public and there’s no dine-in premises. You can find out more about ghost kitchens in this article: What are host kitchens (and how are they different from ghost and cloud kitchens)?
Virtual restaurants have the potential to be profitable, but it varies depending on the market, the food concept, your operational efficiency, and your execution.
To give yourself the best chance of success, it’s a good idea to partner with an expert. Take a look at us, for example. Our partners make an extra £12,000 - £57,000 on average every month with our virtual brands. Get in touch to see how we can help you!