WHAT IT IS?
Created in 2020 by Robert Earl and his son Robbie, ‘Virtual Dining Concepts’ (VDC) have quickly taken a leadership role in the trend of virtual kitchens and delivery-only restaurants. Robert Earl is the former CEO of ‘Hard Rock Cafe’ and current founder of ‘Planet Hollywood International’. He specializes in restaurant and hospitality branding, marketing and operations and works with at least 12 restaurant chains in the United States. VDC partners with (local chain) restaurants, hotel kitchens and other commercial kitchens, and offers them a low-risk, A-Z solution to implement a virtual restaurant. This is a concept of a restaurant without an actual location. A name and a menu are enough to start it. In order to request a partnership with VDC, the kitchen simply has to be in the delivery zone of the most used delivery apps.
When a partnership starts, the kitchen chooses the concept that fits them the best and VDC provides the rest: full concept development, 3rd party platform implementation, training programs, sales and marketing strategies, public relations. The kitchen could start taking orders (and making a profit) within 4 to 6 weeks after the initial deal.
Robbie Earl uses his relationships with the biggest names of the American music industry, Hollywood, sports industry and even YouTube to create unique food and menu concepts. The celebrities have to work on developing their personal concepts with Eric Greenspan, VDC Culinary Director. Right now, VDC offers a choice of 12 concepts, ready to implement. Most of them are partnerships with celebrities. For example, ‘Mario’s Tortas Lopez’ has been developed with Mario Lopez, ‘Mariah’s Cookies’ with Mariah Carey and ‘Pauly D’s Italian Subs’ with DJ Paul D.
WHY IT’S COOL?
To implement a VDC in a restaurant there are zero upfront additional costs to an already existing kitchen. There is no need to invest in dining rooms and service staff. The concept also makes it easier for people from outside the restaurant industry to open their restaurants.
During the Covid era, VDC helped many struggling restaurants staying afloat and survive the pandemic. VDC functions as a safety line during times when restaurants couldn’t welcome guests. VDC also offers a turnkey solution on how to implement a virtual restaurant within an already existing restaurant. The goal is to have multiple concepts out of one kitchen and create a more profitable delivery business.
WHY IT HAS FUTURE GROWTH POTENTIAL?
At the moment, most of the VDC concepts are fast food. VDC though, could start developing concepts for fresh, healthy meals as well, while still being easy to deliver. Also, VDC will be capable to stimulate more (celebrity) newcomers to the food-delivery industry — with Cool concepts and low investment costs.
For the moment, VDC only exists in the United States. Even though we see virtual kitchens in Europe as well, they are nothing close to VDC’s massive USA strategies. VDC could be adapted to the rest of the world where delivered food will be similarly appealing as in the USA. Of course, the concepts would have to be adjusted to the needs and ideas of the new countries.
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