Virtual Brands: 6 Effective Ways to Grow Your Business Online
Virtual brands within the restaurant industry are lucrative and popular ventures. They’re a modern take on the traditional quick service restaurant by combining the casual dining experience with innovative restaurant technology.
But first, what are virtual brands? Keep reading to learn more.
What Is A Virtual Brand?
Virtual brands within the food and beverage industry are eateries that don’t offer the option to dine at a brick and mortar location. If you’ve ever heard of a ghost kitchen, they share many similar qualities.
So you may be wondering how a virtual brand can be successful. Well, between removing major restaurant expenses and opting for third-party delivery apps, virtual kitchens are quite profitable.
Off-premise delivery apps allow restaurants to cut costs for the following:
- Wait staff
- Interior decor and furniture
- Restaurant equipment, such as kiosks
- Dishware and glassware
- Physical restaurant menus
- Other types of inventory, such as paper goods
Remember to learn about “what is off premise” before launching a virtual brand.
What Is A Virtual Community?
A virtual community is a collective group of people who share common interests. Within the restaurant space, virtual communities often exist for a niche market or specialty eatery.
Consumers who relate to one another based on food preferences or restrictions are likely to share their experiences. Plus, specialty eateries are more likely to gain a cult following than others.
To build a virtual community for your restaurant, start by using social media to grow a loyal audience. Then, learn how to determine the social media ROI to see if a large following converts to sales.
How To Grow A Brand Online
Virtual brands are a great type of business to launch from scratch. However, converting a business into a virtual brand could be beneficial if you’re looking for ways to simplify an already-existing eatery.
Restaurant operations are minimal across virtual brands. This concept also means that costs are lower, too.
As you might already imagine, virtual brands can be outstanding opportunities. So, here are six effective ways to grow a virtual brand online or with technology.
1. Use Delivery Apps
Virtual brands require delivery apps to serve food. Though some customers might call in orders, apps have many benefits.
When placing orders through an app, customers don’t have to share their payment information directly with another person. Plus, the kitchen staff will be able to refer to the request directly from the customer. With this feature, there is little to no chance of mixing up orders.
Don’t forget to integrate features to boost mobile food ordering revenue. For instance, opt for apps that suggest items upon checkout or show past orders. It’s reasons like these that mobile food orders have such higher cart values than in-person checks.
2. Order Minimal Inventory
Inventory control should be a major priority for virtual brands. We recommend conducting a weekly inventory audit to distinguish which ingredients and dishes are best-sellers.
BlueCart helps numerous virtual brands and ghost kitchens take inventory, select the best prices from a wholesale directory, and reduce overhead expenses. Plus, you’ll be aware of your reorder point and delivery dates.
3. Extend Your Hours
Virtual brands are convenient eateries for consumers. Such restaurants remove the question of whether to dine out, making it the ultimate casual dining experience.
Most restaurants don’t offer 24 7 food delivery. With this in mind, digital brands can use this data to create a successful selling point. If your restaurant is one of the few in your town that offers extended hours, it should quickly become the go-to option.
One of the great perks of virtual brands remaining open late into the night is that there’s no need for waiters to work overnight shifts. Not only would this raise the labor cost, but it may be difficult to sustain.
4. Launch A Loyalty Program
Convenient restaurants often result in returning visitors. So, why not reward your customers with a restaurant loyalty program?
Loyalty programs are a way to incentivize new customers to order takeout while giving former diners a reason to come back. Stellar customer service is perfect for boosting loyalty, so thoughtfully consider what your program could offer.
Delivery apps and restaurant POS systems can include customer data that pertain to rewards. Not only will this save time, but it will also ensure accuracy.
5. Market Your Restaurant Online
Marketing your business across digital realms is important for any restaurant. It’s even more vital for virtual brands. Without a physical location, you must use the internet for promotions.
From implementing an email marketing strategy to restaurant SEO tactics, numerous restaurant marketing ideas can be customized to suit your business. Since most of your marketing efforts will take place on digital platforms, make sure somebody is tracking various metrics to confirm which tactics work best.
Learn more about unique restaurant marketing tips for inspiration.
6. Offer Several Payment Options
Payment processing options are always a benefit for online orders. Mobile payments, traditional credit cards, and gift certificates are just a few popular options customers should be able to choose.
Ensure that your payment methods abide by the PCI standards so that customers feel secure. Protection against mishandling payment data and fraudulent charges is crucial for all businesses–not just restaurants.
Though it might not seem like the most glamorous way to boost the order volume for a restaurant, accommodating all potential customers is key. You don’t want to deter ready-to-order customers at the checkout page once they see you don’t offer a specific payment method. So, provide a wide variety of options.
Benefits Of Virtual Brands
There are numerous benefits to operating virtual brands. Several of the most popular reasons to open one are as follows:
- The restaurant manager can avoid the risk of an understaffed restaurant or work overload.
- Virtual brands are some of the first eateries to onboard restaurant tech, making them modern and trendy.
- Since hiring a large staff isn’t necessary, time management is rarely a concern.
- Employing fewer people results in much lower expenses.
- If you convert a restaurant into a virtual brand, you can redirect the restaurant marketing budget toward digital, measurable strategies.
- Virtual brands can offer delivery or curbside pick up.
Frequently Asked Questions About Virtual Brands
What Is A DoorDash Virtual Brand?
A DoorDash virtual brand is an eatery available on DoorDash, that only offers takeout and delivery services. If a restaurant on a delivery app is a virtual brand, this also indicates that it’s a virtual kitchen.
What Is A Virtual Kitchen?
A virtual kitchen is just another term for a ghost kitchen, which is a restaurant with off-premise sales channels. For these eateries, there is no dine-in option.
Virtual kitchens thrive with minimal staff and operations. By offering takeout only, there are also fewer expenses.
How Do I Create A Virtual Restaurant Brand?
Open a restaurant that only offers takeout to create a virtual restaurant brand. Once you launch your business, make your menus available on mobile ordering apps to maximize profits. Then, implement other digital marketing efforts to further promote your eatery.