Deliveroo tees up ‘virtual restaurants’ from existing kitchens

Deliveroo has revealed plans to create what it calls ‘virtual restaurants’ to help kitchens develop and launch new delivery-only brands without any major upfront investment.

The company is leveraging its delivery-only ‘Editions’ kitchen model so that restaurants can use its facilities to test and market new brands for online delivery.

It claims the move will allow existing restaurants to increase revenue and customers by offering new cuisines from their current kitchen, but under new branding. Restaurants use existing kitchen equipment, chefs and ingredients to serve a different part of the market.

It will also help restaurants to set up delivery-only businesses and provides them with the resource to trial new ideas without an investment in bricks and mortar.

Around 15 restaurant operators are understood to have created ‘virtual’ brands already, with more expected to sign up now that the project has been formally rolled out.

According to the company, a virtual brand appears as a separate restaurant on Deliveroo with a new identity driven by a new cuisine or menu offering.

Given the current pressures on foodservice operators, Deliveroo says its Editions kitchens provide the ideal environment for an operator to test new food brands with minimal costs or risk if they don’t choose to use their own kitchens.

Deliveroo will essentially work as brand consultants by offering access to market data and trends, as well as supporting the operator with marketing, testing and feedback.

Will Shu, CEO and founder of Deliveroo, commented: “Virtual restaurants mean more great food for our customers. By creating new brands out of existing kitchens, restaurants can really boost their business and try new ideas without the need for expensive new premises. We are using our knowledge, data and insight to help restaurants launch new brands in Deliveroo Editions and from their high street kitchens.

Mr Shu added: “We work with chefs every step of the way to make virtual restaurants a success from concept to delivery. The end result is great for restaurants and is helping to increase customer choice across the UK.”

The model is already up and running in the UK with several partners. Brighton sushi restaurant Moshimo has already launched two virtual brands – ‘Moshimo Vegan’ and ‘Poke by Moshimo’ – while Chicken & Blues in Reading has developed virtual brand ‘Cheeky’ offering vegetarian and vegan-friendly food.

There are currently more than 50 virtual brands live across the platform globally and some of these are reported to have seen a 70% rise in revenue.

Deliveroo Editions is a platform that enables restaurants to reach new customers without needing a high street premises by providing delivery-only kitchens.

Motored by technology, Deliveroo uses its data to identify cuisine gaps in the local market and to predict customer demand to establish which restaurants are likely to succeed in each area.

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