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  • 14 December 2016

Virtual Restaurants: Redefining In-house Dining

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Restaurant businesses can expect a lot from the Only-Delivery Model of
Virtual Restaurants. Once they have tasted the appetizing potential of this model,
they are only set for the ‘main course of success’.


If home is your favorite place to be, you’re probably not the only one who loves to have house parties, sleepovers or backyard picnics. With more and more people preferring to spend time in the warmth of home, it’s evident that the way businesses work will change in the near future, in fact the journey has already begun with the coming of Virtual Restaurants.

 All hail the virtual restaurant, as GrubHub CEO Matt Maloney predicts the rise of the ‘virtual’ restaurants. A Virtual Restaurant is based on delivery-only model; it serves you food wherever and whenever you want.

With the augmentation of Virtual restaurants, who is going to witness a downfall? Conventional restaurants with furniture, as predicted by the experts.

There was a time when concept restaurants and cafes came into being; and creating a simulating experience was the core of designing these places. With the augmentation of virtual restaurants, in-house dining has been redefined literally. It’s no more about going out, but ordering your food and relishing it in your own comfort – whether it’s while watching your favorite TV Series, or while preparing a slideshow at your desk.

Trending: Who’s bringing food on the table and how?

If you’re looking for an icebreaker at the dining table, bring in the topic of Virtual Restaurants and we bet the conversation won’t end anytime soon. There’s a lot to know and share about this newest business model. We’ll tell you a bit about the businesses falling under this model and you can boast about your knowledge at the table (we won’t tell anyone)!

  • ‘Ready-to-Heat’ up the conversation
    Delivery-only restaurants, without dining rooms and furniture, like Maple, Ando and Munchery in America and EatFirst in UK deliver ready-to-heat meals from central kitchens. FoodChéri caters to busy professionals in Paris, and has raised more than $6,700,000 in series A funding. Spaghetti maven Michael White is teaming with UberEats for a delivery-only brand called Pasta on Demand.
  • No Amateur talk
    There are delivery platforms that work with home cooks to prepare meals and post their menus, and customers can order food using various apps. Among them are Yuma in Montreal, Umi Kitchen in New York, Foodie Shares in LA, ChefKiss in Tempe and Scottsdale and Trybe in London.
  • Eat what the Romans eat
    After Airbnb’s reservations for dinners in home cooks’ dining rooms, Many startups have launched apps that connect adventurous tourists in boarding houses with the feasts hidden in local streets. There’s VizEat in Italy, France, UK and Portugal; and Feastly in Los Angeles and San Francisco – aimed at serving visitors who want to explore a city rather like a local.
  • Meal kit deliveries
    Then there are Meal kit delivery services like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Plated, Chef’d that think there’s a bonanza in ready-to-prep meals-in-a-box which only require a bit of assembly to put together the meal.
  • Please don’t wait to be seated
    App-based services such as Grabb, Ritual and Hangry all allow users to order and pay for meals ahead of time, and skip the queue when going to pick up their meals.
  • Like your food, subscribe your food
    Canadian startups Chowdy, and Fuel Foods offer weekly supplies of chef-made meals that users can reheat at home.

An Appetizer for Businesses

Restaurant businesses can expect a lot from the Only-Delivery Model of Virtual Restaurants. Once they have tasted the appetizing potential of this model, they are only set for the ‘main course of success’.

Catering to numerous diners with least cost could have sounded like a dream in the 90’s. But as the world turned ‘Amazon-ing’ and everything started getting delivered at doorstep, on-demand businesses grew.

Opening a restaurant – with full staff, décor, facilities and entertainment – involves a significant investment. On top of that, commercial real estate prices and labor costs have risen over the past few years, specially in big cities. Even more raise in wages is expected with the new rules for Restaurant workers.

A delivery-only model can settle many of these issues. A virtual restaurant doesn’t need servers or hosts, the cost of building a space or renting one can’t be completely overlooked but definitely cut down many folds.

 A Dessert for Diners

Having quality food anytime, anywhere with cost effective and efficient delivery is an icing on a rainbow cake with m&m’s filled inside – a dessert everyone wants over and over!
To serve the customers better, restaurants propose value driven services. With the change in the customer ‘taste’ or call it preference, the way the restaurants strategize their businesses is also changing. Many restaurants plan their menus along the lines of providing healthy options in the beginning of the week and more indulgent ones as the weekend approaches.

Munchery sells their value proposition to consumers by outlining the quality of their ingredients and cooks. Meals from companies like FoodChéri are marketed as containing organic, locally grown, made in-house, and restaurant-quality ingredients. In the case of Ando, it delivers to a chef-driven concept and has a menu that happens to not have a dining room.

When people get healthy and better culinary options at home, they become devoted customers to their respective service provider.


Challenges: Too hot to handle?

For optimum results, every business needs a 360-degree planning. We help you outline a few challenges that you might face before you take off this virtual ride.

  • Are you tech-ready?
    A lot is going on to test the feasibility of drone delivery – such as Google-Chipotle at Virginia tech, Domino’s pizza drone in New Zealand, 7-Eleven slurpees and sandwiches in Reno. But the very appealing drone delivery will take a while to come into practice.
    As TechCrunch notes, delivery-only restaurants use technology to make delivery as efficient as possible. Building an app is not a pocket friendly idea for every business. So to fight the technical requirement of handling orders, restaurants mostly work closely with other delivery services, such as UberEats, Foodora, Feast and Deliveroo. Such tie-ups are sometimes a matter of concern for restaurants, as the delivery guy becomes their representative and it’s not easy to conclude how dependable the other person is.
    Tookan App is a ready to use solution for such businesses. Once they get the app, they can organize their business in the most efficient way, with their own trustworthy staff.
  • Are you prepared to expand your business?
    Opening a virtual restaurant doesn’t come entirely without cost. Potential expansion is where the challenges come in. It might be cheaper to own one delivery-only restaurant, but scaling the delivery-only method is expensive. To expand, a company has to have a location and team in each of the neighborhoods where it operates. That makes it exponentially more expensive to operate as it grows. In a growing business it becomes hard to run the operations, as one has to now manage a bigger team and more orders; and working old school might not always be cool.
    Tookan App comes into picture by making the operations and management process easy and simple by tracking orders and assigning jobs to available employee. One can also check the location of the drivers in real time; hence mark down their performance.
  • How to deliver faster?
    Virtual Restaurants have to build their credibility based on factors like food value, quality packaging, handling and efficient delivery. They have to meet customer expectation by not only meeting their culinary requirement but also offering a promising delivery. Customers feel rewarded if a business values their time by delivering fast. The orders must reach in time.
    How can you optimize your delivery service? With Tookan you can automatically fetch orders using open APIs, Auto-assign the tasks based on distance and availability of your agent and show them the fastest route to deliver.
  • Are you keeping your customers in the loop?
    Customers want to track where their order has reached – credit it to the ‘Uberization’. Staying in the loop, makes the customer feel that the business is transparent and dependable. Tookan makes it easy for restaurants to send trigger based SMS and email notifications, about the order and delivery status, to their customers. Customers can also use Tookan’s interactive feature to track their order in real time and also give feedback about the food and service.

With Tookan, the entire process from receiving the order and delivering it to getting reviews and feedback from diners helps businesses to outline the right strategy to thrive. 2017 is anticipated to bring a new dimension to sharing economy and we can’t control our hunger to see who delivers the customers in the best way to become the next Airbnb or Uber in food industry.

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