You're either thinking about starting -- or have started -- a virtual brand. Now you need to get customers to order from it!
Covid accelerated what was already a trend in the the food delivery revolution. A new form of business has emerged: virtual brands!
What is a virtual brand?
A virtual brand is a delivery-only food concept that’s sold exclusively online and through delivery apps. There is no dine-in experience. Operationally, virtual brand operators are trying to get the most out of their existing kitchen and employees.
Virtual brands can be take two formats -- virtual kitchens and ghost kitchens.
What is a virtual kitchen?
A virtual kitchen is a virtual brand being run out of the kitchen of a restaurant that has a dine-in experience. This additional brand will only sell online for takeout or delivery.
Here is an example: Think of a local fishmonger with a famous fried Halibut sandwich.
In addition to promoting the daily catches coming in from the ocean every day that make the community love them, they also spin-up a brand that focuses on delivering those delicious fried fresh sandwiches to business crowds and construction sites in a 15-mile radius. With a simple logo and an Instagram page, they're off and running with the new popular sandwich shop around town.
What is a ghost kitchen?
Ghost kitchens are established commercial-grade kitchens designed solely to drive online delivery and takeout orders. There is no sister brand with a dine-on experience.
Food service providers can safely and legally prepare, cook, and store food and equipment. Some commercial kitchen complexes rent out space to ghost kitchen operators and some will run their own operations out of their kitchens.
Can anyone run a virtual brand?
It is just a matter of figuring out how to go about it:
- Start a new brand from scratch: create a new brand and target customers who fit your virtual brand's demographic. Would your brand work best for business lunches or take home dinners for the family? Make a small menu with smart margins and target the perfect crowd. Remember -- you can save the same menu items under the two separate brands and target your marketing to each accordingly.
- License an entire restaurant brand from a third party: Nextbite has no upfront costs and lets you pick from a handful of pre-designed brands. It is a quick and easy way to launch a new brand to drive new, incremental revenue.
- Find a Kitchen: Businesses are building commercial kitchens solely to help you launch a virtual brand. You can use Cloud Kitchen's - “Launch Kitchen In One Month” to create pathways to be up and running in weeks.
How do I market a Virtual or Ghost Kitchen?
First, realize you are not starting from scratch. You can leverage your assets from your existing restaurant and may be able to get assistance from your brand provider if you are licensing a brand.
Here are a few ways to use your existing brand and assets:
- Email your original concept's loyalty and email lists!
- Cross-promote on your existing social media profiles.
- Cross-promote on your takeout and delivery orders
- Put links on your existing websites
That gets you going. What’s next? Get the word out!
Paid Facebook and Instagram ads are the quickest and most cost effective way to get people in your neighborhood to learn about your business.
Where should I drive traffic to with my ads?
Figure out which of your delivery providers charges the least in commissions -- or perhaps even does not charge a commission -- and drive your traffic to that site. Remember...not all sales are equal! A $50 deal on a site that charges 0% commission can be better than a $60 sale on a site that charges 30% commission.
Make sure to get the most out of your revenue by increasing your sales through your preferred online ordering site.
Your virtual or ghost kitchen will have a separate social media presence and target customers differently. So you’ll need to have your Facebook Business Manager and Ad Account set up linking to a new Business Page. From there, you would manage multiple ad accounts to control brand awareness and advertisements for your businesses. Running multiple brands' marketing can feel like twice the work, so look for ways to make it easy on yourself.
Targetable can support your business because we allow multi-brand management on our platform. With Targetable, we help multi-brand proprietors manage their companies' advertising in less than 10 mins per week. We send you ad campaigns ready to publish for each brand you manage.
Targetable is software that "does it for you." The platform creates ads specifically for you, including choosing the pictures and writing the text. It also builds a media buying strategy so the right person sees your ad at the right time.
To learn more about how we can help you enter the world of virtual or ghost kitchens, schedule a demo today.