A lot has changed with the advent of technology. Many of us don’t go anywhere without first checking online reviews, we can work entirely remotely at home in our pajamas, and ordering food is just a mouse-click away. With our recent article about the emergence of ghost kitchens, a storefront is no longer required to run a restaurant.
By now, by simply scrolling through the DoorDash app, you may have heard of “It’s Just Wings” – a virtual brand by Brinker International (a name and a menu all-in-one!). Chicken is undoubtedly a popular item for virtual restaurants. Rapper Tyga has recently launched his own delivery-only restaurant, which is called “Tyga’s Bites.” Customize your chicken nuggets by choosing from three spice dusts — black garlic, lemon black pepper, and peri-peri — along with various dipping sauces.
Speaking of rappers, Wiz Khalifa just announced his virtual restaurant called “Hot Box by Wiz” slated to open October 1. While the full menu has yet to be released, Wiz’s website shows savory burnt BBQ “Beef Blazed Ends” and a “Taylor Gang” turkey burger. If you are looking for a burger-only, off-premise dining experience, you might want to check out Freiburger from The Absolute Brands—the people behind Dog Haus. Their burgers are made humanely raised, vegetarian-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free 100% genetically tested black Angus beef served in grilled King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls.
While on the topic of burgers, C3 (Creating Culinary Communities), the subsidiary of the company behind Umami Burger (SBE Entertainment Group), had launched a sushi delivery-only concept called Krispy Rice earlier this year. The virtual eatery could be considered a spinoff of the restaurant, Katsuya, whose signature is the “Spicy Tuna Krispy Rice,” grilled sushi rice, spicy tuna tartare with serrano peppers type of nigiri. What makes the restaurant stand out? The box. It’s all about the experience, and at Krispy Rice, you won’t be greeted with the usual brown, paper boxes or Styrofoam packaging. Get ready for a dose of kawaii (which means “cute” in Japanese) in each delivery.
C3 also has a new delivery-only vegan concept, Plant Nation, which currently has eight locations in the Los Angeles market and plans to add 40 locations in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles within the next six months. Here, diners can choose from offerings like pizza, salads, warm bowls, and sandwiches.
In the age of COVID, where uncertainty is the only certainty and where restaurant operators look for ways to pivot creatively, we look forward to seeing more virtual concepts pop-up (and hopefully, succeed).