“Virtual restaurants” is a sub-category of the Foodservice sector. See all definitions of FoodTech and its categories here.
The “virtual restaurants” FoodTech category regroups startups operating restaurant brands that are only available online. While most have a B2C business model through restaurant delivery platforms (or their own), others are B2B focused and act as virtual canteens.
A virtual restaurant should not be confused with a cloud kitchen (or ghost / dark kitchen). It is first and foremost a marketing expert company that creates restaurant brands, menus and marketing material. These restaurants are only operated online through delivery platforms.
It is interesting to remember that initially, virtual restaurants and cloud kitchens were talked about as “Fullstack delivery” companies. These startups were managing both dark kitchens and delivery through their branded online platforms.
From this fully integrated business model, we are now observing more and more specialised players. Even virtual restaurants, which were mostly brand creators and operators (by employing cooks in others’ cloud kitchens), are becoming more virtual as they franchise their brands.
DigitalFoodLab’s additional insights
- 08/09/2021 – Robots are coming in (cloud) kitchens and in the streets
- 15/06/2021 – The future of the restaurant
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