The Rise of the Virtual Restaurant

The Rise of the Virtual Restaurant

Food delivery apps are reshaping the restaurant industry—and how we eat—by inspiring digital-only establishments that don’t need a dining room or waiters.

Key findings

Virtual restaurants are attached to real-life restaurants but make different cuisines specifically for delivery apps.

"Ghost Kitchens," which have no retail presence and essentially serve as a meal preparation hub for delivery orders.

Uber and other companies are driving the change. Since 2017, the ride-hailing company has helped start 4,000 virtual restaurants which are exclusive to its Uber Eats app. The company analyzes neighborhood sales data to identify unmet demand for particular cuisines. Then it approaches restaurants that use the app and encourages them to create a virtual restaurant to meet that demand.

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