Grubhub launches its own virtual delivery-only restaurant, marking a new gateway for the Chicago-based company into the pandemic-fueled world of haunted kitchens.
Virtual restaurants, also known as haunted kitchens, operate without dining rooms and reach customers through online ordering and delivery services. Some offer cuisines to dozens of restaurants under one roof. Others operate out of established restaurants.
The pandemic eases a bang in such concepts that people started to feel more comfortable ordering food online, and experts think they might stay here. Chicago gained 700 new virtual restaurant brands in 2021, compared to just 350 physical ones, according to market research firm Datasential. Chicago-based sandwich chain Potbelly announced its foray into virtual kitchens as a way to encourage its aspirations growth plan† Ultimately, the explosion of virtual kitchens is one of the many ways COVID-19 has reshaped food culture.
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Until now, Grubhub has been the facilitator of virtual kitchens, the connector between the restaurant that makes the food and the person who ordered it. The food ordering platform created its own virtual restaurant brand to provide restaurants with additional ways to make money, said Marnie Boyer, VP of restaurant acquisition at Grubhub.
“This is really a low-risk way for restaurants to get involved and have multiple revenue streams and attract new customers,” she said. “They don’t have to do that with extra costs, and they don’t have to hire a ton more staff.”
Grubhub’s virtual restaurant is called MasterChef Table and will feature recipes from winners of the “MasterChef” show on Fox. Three winners from different seasons created a total of 11 dishes that will be sold through the virtual restaurant. Diners in 20 cities, including Chicago, Boston, New York and Los Angeles, can use Grubhub’s app and order the food.