Virtual kitchens, or ghost kitchens, have revolutionized the food industry by eliminating the need for in-person interaction. Through food delivery, owners can connect with customers while saving money on overhead and rent. The virtual kitchen trend is also popular with the general public — many customers claim to enjoy supporting local ghost kitchens and trying out new food concepts.
The popularity of ghost kitchens has led to the creation of ghost kitchen chains, in which a single company hosts multiple virtual brands. Here's a closer look at some of the biggest ghost kitchen chains.
Unfurl is a virtual food hall that lets customers order from multiple brands and pay from a single bill. Based in the San Francisco and San Mateo areas, it offers everything from salads and sandwiches to burritos and poke bowls. It hosts the following virtual brands:
- Bay Bistro (Bay Area-style comfort food)
- Burritos Without Borders (Mexican fare)
- The Melt (Sandwiches and grilled cheeses)
The company prides itself on accommodating multiple palates and is always shaking things up by adding new menu items. It also helps out virtual brand owners by providing kitchens, equipment and marketing services.
2. Kitchen United
Kitchen United works closely with virtual kitchen owners to help them reach new customers, build brand awareness and grow their businesses. In addition to providing built-in support, it helps brands connect with delivery services and offers real estate in busy cities. Kitchen United's ghost kitchens can be found in the following locations:
- San Jose
What sets Kitchen United apart from other ghost kitchen chains is its commitment to helping new business owners achieve their dreams without breaking the bank. It provides affordable staffing, quick launches and low overhead costs.
3. Virt Brands/Acelerate
Accelerate, or Virt Brands, is a chef-inspired virtual kitchen chain that uses customer data to create optimized menus. From professional photography to supply chain integration, it offers plenty of resources to help kitchen succeed. Here are some of its brands:
- Nash's Hot Chicken
- Salad Box
- Super Smash Burgers
- Egghead Breakfast Burritos
- Unreal Deli
By partnering with Acelerate, new ghost kitchen owners can get assistance with things like equipment, labor, infrastructure and marketing. Acelerate takes care of these needs so that kitchen owners can focus on what they know best: food.
Virturant makes it easier than ever to open your own virtual brand by supplying prospective owners with fully optimized, chef-created menus and brands. Not only are their kitchens easy to start up, but they're also low-risk and low-cost. The company even offers smart kitchen operators to help increase profits and revenues. Virtual brands include:
- Pancake Heaven
- Uhmazing BLTs
- The Royal Breakfast
- Grilled Cheesin
- Wild Skillets
To help ensure success, Virturant depends heavily on data to create its menus. All brands are customer-targeted based on popular food orders and designed to help brands connect with people in their area.
5. Maya Eats
Maya Eats analzyes the unique characteristics of every prospective ghost kitchen owner, then creates a customized, data-driven virtual brand designed to get results. Factors it considers include food specialty, location and strengths. Here are some of Maya Eats' top virtual brands:
- Fire Biryani
- Tikka Cravings
- Sizzling Pad Thai
- El Toro Burritos
- The Burning Bun
In addition to helping with branding, Maya Eats creates social media campaigns and promotions to attract new customers. The company also promotes its brands across third-party delivery applications, such as UberEats, GrubHub and DoorDash.
Opening Your Own Ghost Kitchen
Many people attribute the success of ghost kitchens to the rise of food delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, even as COVID-19 begins to fade, delivery is thriving — it's safe to say that virtual kitchens aren't going anywhere.
Of course, if you hope to succeed like these ghost kitchen chains, you need to have a good strategy in place. Businesses like UnFurl and Maya Eats wouldn't have become a hit if they messed up orders or didn't keep customers satisfied. Restaurant technology like Cuboh is designed to help virtual brands by streamlining orders to a single tablet and connecting with restaurant SaaS and POS systems. If you're considering getting into the virtual food business, prepare early by booking a demo today!