Start a virtual restaurant
Build a successful online-only food delivery business that can help attract customers and increase sales.
Benefits of starting a virtual restaurant
Virtual restaurants (VRs) can offer exciting new growth opportunities when they’re built on principles similar to those of a traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant.
Generate new revenue
Increase same-store sales and boost order volumes by building a strong online concept that operates out of the same kitchen as your brick-and-mortar restaurant.
Capture new audiences
Attract customers by creating a distinct brand identity for your VR and bringing it to life in all aspects of your concept—from your logo and menu to your appearance on Uber Eats.
Minimize costs by using existing staff, kitchen space, and ingredients with the flexibility to expand or invest in new VR concepts as you grow your online-only business.
How to start a virtual restaurant
Even online, delivery-only restaurants need well-thought-out concepts that operate under principles similar to those of brick-and-mortar restaurants. Here are a few key ingredients for starting a virtual restaurant on Uber Eats:
Step 1: Invest in building a strong, lasting brand
- Establish a unique brand that defines who you are, what you care about, and what you offer to customers.
- Create a professionally designed logo that’s showcased on your Uber Eats app profile, your digital and social channels, your delivery menu, and your packaging and to-go bags.
- Leverage in-app marketing tools, such as Ads and Offers on Uber Eats, and other digital marketing tactics, including your website, email, and social media channels. This will help build awareness, generate demand, and keep customers ordering again and again.
Step 2: Create a fully designed online menu that offers customers lots of high-quality choices that they crave
- Make it easy for customers to find what they want quickly. List your menu items by groups and cuisine types that customers will understand. Write short descriptions (140 to 260 characters long).
- Add your beverage menu and give drink details, including flavors and size choices.
- Showcase your food with craveable photos, which can help you capture the attention of hungry eaters when they’re searching.
Step 3: Focus on maintaining a best-in-class in-house operation—even though you’re a virtual restaurant
- Create a full menu that’s specifically designed for delivery only. Leverage existing kitchen equipment, SKUs, and your kitchen staff’s culinary expertise.
- Choose sustainable packaging that allows you to maintain your food quality when it’s in transit to customers. Generally, food items should uphold quality and taste until at least 30 to 45 minutes after preparation.
- Monitor your operational metrics and compare them against benchmarks that you’d establish for a brick-and-mortar restaurant, such as order accuracy, average order size, average delivery time, customer reorder rate, and customer ratings and reviews.
Frequently asked questions
- What is a virtual restaurant?
A virtual restaurant is a concept that only accepts and fulfills digital off-premises orders and operates out of a brick-and-mortar storefront.
- How does a VR appear to customers on Uber Eats?
Once your restaurants are activated, customers see separate restaurant tiles—for your physical restaurant menu and your VR menu(s)—on the Uber Eats app that they can order from.
- What are the benefits of opening a VR?
VRs can allow you to create new brands and deliver new cuisines to customers without the risk and expense of opening another physical location.
- What are the requirements for opening a VR on the Uber platform?
A VR must be run out of an existing kitchen already licensed to operate the VR in the relevant jurisdiction(s).
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