Orlando restaurateur Robert Earl plans to supply eateries an opportunity to serve a delivery-only menu based mostly on tendencies from the favored quick video app TikTok in 2022, simply the most recent twist within the rising digital restaurant pattern.
Virtual restaurants supply menus that present restaurants can add with completely different names on supply apps comparable to Uber Eats with out the expense of extra bodily area for a brand new enterprise.
Expected to launch in March, TikTok Kitchen’s menu will likely be based mostly on viral meals from TikTok, together with baked feta pasta and Korean sizzling canines. Earl mentioned the intent is to change out menu gadgets based mostly on new tendencies from the app.
Earl mentioned TikTok Kitchen solves the issue of find out how to market digital restaurants. TikTok has greater than a billion customers globally.
“This answers some of the … outstanding questions about the longevity of virtual,” Earl mentioned in an interview. “How do we have something that keeps your interest and is ever-changing? And how do we have a brand that even though it doesn’t have any what we call brick-and-mortar physical buildings, that you feel attached to it?”
Earl is not alone in creating new digital restaurants at the same time as persons are beginning to eat out extra once more after opting to remain dwelling for a lot of the pandemic. Winter Park-based Tijuana Flats lately launched its personal Smack Wings digital restaurant.
Earl’s Orlando firm, Virtual Dining Concepts, has a number of digital restaurants together with NASCAR Refuel and MrBeast Burger the place the meals is ready at Earl’s restaurants comparable to Buca di Beppo or at eateries owned by others.
TikTok Kitchen would be the newest entry in that vein.
Earl anticipates having it in about 300 restaurants throughout the nation on opening day, and finally 2,000 within the United States and Canada. It will likely be obtainable on supply apps comparable to Grubhub.
The Orlando space might begin with 4 restaurants providing TikTok Kitchen.
Earl mentioned TikTok and supply apps share an viewers.
“They actually have an identical profile, not even similar, identical,” Earl mentioned. “They’re the most desired audiences for the third-party platforms. They’re the most frequent users of delivery.”
Earl mentioned his most profitable digital restaurant to date has been MrBeast Burger, a partnership with YouTube superstar Jimmy Donaldson, higher referred to as MrBeast. Earl mentioned the model is in 1,500 restaurants and served greater than 5 million burgers and sandwiches in its first 12 months.
“It’s an amazing achievement,” Earl mentioned.
Elsewhere, Tijuana Flats launched its Smack Wings digital restaurant in November, which is now in 105 firm restaurants and 18 franchise places.
The delivery-only wings menu options 10 sauces and rubs from conventional Buffalo to Thai candy and spicy on apps DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates and Bite Squad. It is Tijuana Flats’ first digital restaurant as the corporate sticks its toes within the water, CEO Brian Wright mentioned.
“The world of virtual brands really exploded over the last 12 to 24 months,” Wright mentioned.
Tijuana Flats anticipated third-party supply enterprise would gradual popping out of the pandemic, nevertheless it has solely elevated, Wright mentioned.
For simply Tijuana Flats, third-party supply was within the neighborhood of 5% to 7% of enterprise when Wright arrived in 2019, however now he mentioned it’s in extra of 20% and nearer to 25%.
“People just got used to this as a way of life,” Wright mentioned.
Earl, who can also be behind Planet Hollywood and different nationwide manufacturers, factors to the expansion in supply earlier than the pandemic in addition to its projected progress.
“When I look at the complete picture, online delivery is the fastest-growing sector by far of our restaurant industry,” Earl mentioned. “I think that the virtual side is the big growth area. … My view is it continues to grow. If anyone is going to suffer it might be one less meal that you cook yourself.”
Earl added his manufacturers have companions that may market the menus to their audiences. MrBeast has greater than 86 million YouTube subscribers.
Earl mentioned his Orlando-based Virtual Dining Concepts has greater than 100 workers.
“I think I reflect the confidence in the space from very sophisticated investors,” Earl mentioned.
More restaurants have been opening earlier than the onset of coronavirus, and so they all wanted further gross sales, Earl mentioned. Virtual restaurants are a technique to generate that enterprise.
Virtual restaurants have thrust the trade deeper into the web age, he mentioned.
“I think that the digitization in the restaurant, hospitality industry has been slower than most other industries,” Earl mentioned. “It’s arrived now, and one of the beauties is what it’s done for restaurants on delivery.”
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Virtual restaurants grow with TikTok Kitchen, Tijuana Flats’ Smack Wings (2022, January 5)
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