- 1.What Is a Virtual Restaurant?
- 2.The Many Advantages of Launching a Virtual Restaurant
- Less overhead expenses
- Low-risk growth opportunities
- Attract new customers
- Seamless setup process
- Leverage affordable technology
- Scale up your business
- 3.The Common Challenges of Running a Virtual Restaurant
- 4.7 Must-Know Tips for Launching a Successful Virtual Restaurant
In today’s fast-paced business landscape, the hospitality industry has faced its fair share of crises. However, time and time again, restaurant owners have managed to come up with insightful solutions to handle the ever-increasing challenges restaurants face.
If we have to choose one standout solution that has revolutionized the food industry in recent years, virtual restaurants would definitely be at the forefront.
This innovative concept that promotes a delivery-only model, not only helped cut costs by eliminating the need for expensive restaurant equipment but also let restaurant owners focus on what truly matters: delivering an exceptional customer experience.
So if you’re ready to delve into the nitty-gritty of launching a virtual restaurant, then you’ve come to the right spot! Whether you’re a seasoned veteran in the food industry or a fresh-faced newcomer, this guide will help you set up a well-thought-out plan to launch a flawless ghost kitchen.
Sounds good? Let’s first define virtual restaurants.
What Is a Virtual Restaurant?
A virtual restaurant is a modern food service concept that operates exclusively through delivery or takeout, eliminating the need for a traditional dine-in experience for customers.
This innovative model has gained immense popularity among customers, and the demand continues to skyrocket thanks to the convenience and flexibility it offers.
Virtual restaurants provide a fantastic opportunity for food entrepreneurs who are seeking flexibility and cost-effective investments. The great news is that the potential for revenue growth is huge.
In fact, according to Business Wire, the food delivery market is projected to reach an astonishing value of $154 billion by 2023, so the proof is in the pudding! That’s why it’s not hard to see why restaurant owners are turning to ghost restaurants.
The Many Advantages of Launching a Virtual Restaurant
Time is money, and so are resources like kitchen space, food trucks, and traditional dining areas. So launching a virtual restaurant might be the missing piece of the puzzle for you to scale down and take your food business to a whole new level.
Before you get your hands muddy, let’s explore some advantages of launching a virtual restaurant.
Less overhead expenses
Unlike many dine-in establishments, this restaurant concept doesn’t require overhead expenses related to rent, equipment, and utility bills, and it trims down your workforce by eliminating positions like waiters and hosts.
All this extra cash in your pocket means you can devote more resources to improving other aspects of your restaurant brand, like menu development, marketing, or customer experience.
Low-risk growth opportunities
No matter the size or popularity of your restaurant, virtual restaurants open up exciting possibilities for expanding your offerings with minimal risk. You can capture a fresh market segment but also increase your revenue and get a substantial boost to your return on investment.
Attract new customers
You’ve heard it before but we’ll say it again, people always want to explore something new, and when it comes to food, the craving for novelty is no different.
So, always make sure to bring something fresh and exciting to the table, because this way, you’ll keep your existing restaurant customers intrigued and attract new patrons who are curious to explore your signature recipes.
Seamless setup process
Another great thing about virtual restaurants is that they can be up and running in no time compared to dine-in spots. You don’t have to worry about offering an appealing dining space or investing in fancy interior design.
So, what’s the bottom line here? Restaurant owners can hit the market much faster than their direct brick-and-mortar competitors, gaining a serious edge in the market.
Leverage affordable technology
With the relentless growth of the delivery markets, you don’t have to do any of the heavy lifting. Thanks to in-house online ordering systems, your virtual restaurant can enjoy increased exposure and profits.
Best of all? You can install an online ordering system for free and start taking orders by tonight using GloriaFood.
Check out how easy it is to start accepting orders online with GloriaFood in less than ten minutes:
Scale up your business
Do you know what every business wants? Scaling without breaking the bank or taking unnecessary risks. And in the food industry, the best way to achieve this is by launching several ghost restaurants in different areas with the idea of building a solid and loyal customer base before committing to a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
So, if you’re considering expanding your food business, then a virtual restaurant is the way to go. It’s a safe bet with massive potential to boost your revenue. All you need to do is choose a suitable online ordering system, effectively promote your restaurant, and voila!
The Common Challenges of Running a Virtual Restaurant
Let’s face it, launching a new business is not all rainbows and butterflies. And when it comes down to virtual restaurants, it shouldn’t be a shock to hear that owners definitely face their fair share of daunting challenges.
But here’s the catch: with a solid plan and a clear roadmap in hand, you’ll be able to overcome those challenges head-on.
Here are three of the most common challenges you may face when starting a virtual restaurant:
Market your restaurant
Promoting your virtual kitchen model is quite challenging since there is no physical location, and customer engagement might be a bit below average.
The best way to get over this is to expand your online presence through social media, create high-quality content that showcases your offerings, and collaborate with influencers or food bloggers to spread the word about your restaurant.
To draw more attention to your virtual restaurant, entice customers with unique promotions, freebies, and special offers.
Here’s how easy it is to create a promotion using GloriaFood’s built-in promotion module:
Build a brand identity
When the majority of your business activity takes place online, establishing a brand identity can be a daunting challenge for restaurant owners.
However, this is precisely where packaging comes into play, serving as a catalyst for creating a lasting brand image that deeply resonates with customers. A great way to do this is by displaying your logo and offerings in a fancy and eye-catching manner.
Limited data collection
Unlike brick-and-mortar restaurants, food entrepreneurs may find it challenging to collect valuable data about their virtual kitchens due to the nature of their services.
Staying in the loop with information like staff work schedules, cloud cost management, and rate calculation is far from easy. However, there are other areas where you can gain relevant insights, such as delivery schedule, order volume, and net profit.
Now that you know what to anticipate when embarking on your virtual restaurant journey, you might feel a little intimidated. Don’t worry! With meticulous planning, thorough market research, and a sprinkle of resourcefulness anyone can overcome these challenges.
So let’s dive into some invaluable tips that will set you up for launching a successful virtual restaurant.
7 Must-Know Tips for Launching a Successful Virtual Restaurant
Now comes the fun part! So, before launching your virtual restaurant, make sure to tick every box in the tips below.
Come up with an original concept
To kick off our list of tips, we’ve got to talk about your restaurant concept. Remember to take into account your business model.
From there, you can figure out how much money, time, and resources you want to put in, what dishes you’d like to include in your menu, and what SOPs you’d like to establish to seamlessly run your restaurant.
Analyze the market
Conducting some solid market research is a crucial element of virtual restaurant success. It helps you figure out your customers’ needs, buying habits, and specific preferences.
Part of your research should also include your competitors. Take the time to dive deep into their strategies, offerings, and customer experiences.
Why? Because it’s all about gaining that competitive edge from the start, whether by fulfilling market gaps or providing best-in-class services.
Choose your kitchen setup
Opening a new restaurant means a fresh start, and with that comes the opportunity to revamp your setup. Consider reorganizing the layout of your kitchen to align with the specific operations of virtual restaurants. Don’t forget to add any new items and equipment necessary for the process.
In case you find yourself in need of some extra space, there are a few options to explore. You might consider remodeling your existing kitchen or even installing a food truck. And if those options don’t work out, renting a purpose-built kitchen could be the perfect solution for you.
Create brand awareness
Your online presence should be noticed across all social media platforms, so make sure to keep up with the latest trends and regularly showcase the dishes and services you offer.
And if you really want to go the extra mile and expand your brand awareness, consider starting a blog. Optimizing your SEO strategy and targeting the top-performing keywords in your food industry can drive massive traffic to your virtual restaurant.
Create your menu and staff up your restaurant
Based on the concept you’ve come up with, you can choose menu items for your restaurant. We suggest you start off with a small menu.
As you gain some popularity and positive customer feedback, you can gradually introduce new recipes and dishes to keep things exciting.
The next step is to staff up your virtual restaurant. Your team size will naturally depend on the volume of your business. As a starting point, you can hire four to seven individuals to successfully launch your first operations.
Choose your tech providers
You can choose to add your restaurant to third-party delivery apps that will offer a seamless experience for customers, as well as grant high visibility to your business. But it’s worth mentioning that delivery platforms can charge hefty commission fees reaching up to 25% of your profit.
Alternatively, you can use an in-house online ordering system such as GloriaFood to take charge of your business and keep all the profits.
Kick off your virtual restaurant
Once you’ve got everything sorted out, it’s time to make some noise on social media and start cooking your delicious dishes. But that’s not all! You can take it a step further by conducting surveys and quizzes to refine your restaurant concept.
You can also build hype around your restaurant even before you lift the curtains. Need some ideas to get you started? Offer a special free meal on your grand opening day, a buy-one-get-one incentive, or free delivery.
If this isn’t a cue for you to start a virtual restaurant, we don’t know what is!
Virtual Restaurants Are the Next Big Thing in Food Entrepreneurship
Now that we’ve covered the ins and outs of virtual restaurants, look no further, as the ball is in your court. The next step should be crystal clear for you if you want your food business to reach new heights.
GloriaFood is on a mission to shape the future of the industry and democratize this exciting concept for every food entrepreneur who seeks innovation in this new era.
Alladdine Djaidani is an internet marketer and founder of Hustler Ethos. He likes to help companies rank on Google and drive growth without breaking the bank.