We explore the companies and services make up the Virtual Restaurant Industry.
ORDER & DELIVERY - The on-demand or third-party food delivery services are probably responsible for the enormous growth of the Virtual Restaurant industry. In fact, they created the entire industry. These are the platforms that accept orders through apps, route them to restaurants, take the payment, and provide the delivery services. They also collect and enormous volume of data about your eating and ordering preferences.
Investors have been pouring billions in to these companies as they fight for market share. The current US leaders are Uber Eats, Grubhub, Postmates, and DoorDash. Grubhub also operates EAT24 and Seamless. There are also a few smaller players like Caviar, Delivery.com, and despite the size of their parent company Amazon Prime Now Restaurant remains a smaller player.
COOKING - Of course, restaurants need somewhere to cook the food. A Virtual Restaurant, meaning a delivery only restaurant, can be located inside an existing brick and mortar restaurant. Alternatively, the Virtual Restaurant can rent a commercial kitchen exclusively to prepare it's delivery orders. These are known as cloud, ghost, or dark kitchens. In addition to a number of independent facilities across the country, two major companies are seeking to expand nationally and dominate the cloud restaurant market: Cloud Kitchens and Kitchen United.
NEW IDEAS - With the growth of any new industry you are going to see new ideas and concepts. Two companies with different niches in this industry are Foodboss and 2ndKitchen. We have written about both of these companies in previous stories. Foodboss is an aggregator of all or most of the delivery services. The idea is that you would be able to see all the delivery platforms available for a particular restaurant and order form the cheapest of fastest.
2ndKitchen is providing a virtual kitchen to businesses that do not have their own kitchen. Targeted at bars, hotels, hospitals and other establishments without their own kitchen, but who want to offer their customers/patients/visitors/clients food, 2ndKitchen seamlessly links local restaurant menus to the establishment.
No doubt we are going to see new ideas emerge as well as continued consolidation among the big players. Check back here to stay up to date.