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Start a virtual restaurant

Build a successful online-only food delivery business that can help attract customers and increase sales using the power of the Uber Eats platform.

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.

Operate efficiently

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.

Success story: Ha! Poke and Hot Lips

How do you operate a fried chicken restaurant out of a kitchen that serves poke? Let Manager Jamie Mitchell show you how they launched Hot Lips virtual restaurant on the Uber Eats platform.


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.

Be part of the Uber Eats Certified Virtual Restaurant Program

Operate a VR in partnership with a professional virtual concept creator that’s committed to keeping quality and the customer experience at the forefront of your business.

You may be eligible to sign up for our Certified Virtual Restaurant Program. Through the program, you can:

Select from a variety of virtual restaurant concepts vetted to meet high standards for food quality, turnkey operations, and branding.

Leverage the expertise of trusted virtual concept creators that can help you operate a quality VR successfully on Uber Eats, including training kitchen staff on day-to-day operations.

Access virtual concept creators’ account management and customer success teams, who can assist with onboarding, performance tracking, and issue resolution, when needed.

Benefit from agreed-upon deal terms with virtual concept creators that include a guaranteed revenue split from your sales generated through Uber Eats, support toward Uber marketing to help drive demand, and limited-time location exclusivity on Uber Eats to help streamline your operations at launch.

Contact your Account Manager or call 833-ASK-EATS (833-275-3287) to learn more.

Virtual Restaurant Policy

Uber reserves the right to modify this policy at any time in its discretion.

  • All menus must adhere to Uber’s menu and photo policies. In addition, VR menus must:

    • Have a hero image and the images of at least 5 menu items that are unique to the VR.
    • Include a description for every menu item. Menu items with the same or similar names, descriptions, or photos will be considered the same item.
    • Include menu items that are at least 60% different from the menu items of both the Parent Restaurant (defined below) and any other VR operating from that same physical location.
    • Contain language that is family-friendly and appropriate for all age groups. This also applies to the VR’s name that appears on the Uber Platforms.

    Uber reserves the right to remove VRs from the Uber Platforms that are not in compliance, in whole or in part, with these menu requirements.

  • If an existing storefront operating from a given physical location seeks to launch and operate a VR on the Uber Platforms from that same physical location (the “Parent Restaurant”), the Parent Restaurant must meet and maintain the following quality requirements:

    • Maintain a 4.3 star rating or higher on the Uber Platforms
    • Have a minimum of 10 orders rated by Customers
    • Have 5% or fewer orders canceled by the merchant according to Uber Eats Manager reporting
    • Have a 5% or lower Inaccurate Orders Rate according to Uber Eats Manager
  • To operate and maintain a VR on the Uber Platforms, each VR must meet and maintain the following quality requirements:

    • Maintain a 4.3 star rating or higher on the Uber Platforms
    • Have 5% or fewer orders canceled by the merchant according to Uber Eats Manager reporting
    • Have a 5% or lower Inaccurate Orders Rate according to Uber Eats Manager

    A merchant may launch no more than one VR per physical location (defined as a building with a single mailing address) every 4 weeks, except with written approval. Subject to the requirements outlined in this policy, which Uber may update from time to time at its discretion, there is no limit to the number of VRs that a restaurant merchant can operate on the Uber Platforms.

    There is no minimum order volume requirement for a merchant’s first VR. If, however, a merchant has more than one VR operating at the same physical location, each successive VR must receive at least 3 orders per week on average every 90 days.

    Uber reserves the right to remove VRs from the Uber Platforms that are not in compliance, in whole or in part, with the VR quality and order volume requirements identified in this policy.

Frequently asked questions

  • A virtual restaurant is a concept that only accepts and fulfills digital off-premises orders and operates out of a brick-and-mortar storefront. You can read more in the article “What is a virtual restaurant?”

  • The delivery-only restaurant space has a lot of special terminology, but most people in the industry use the term “virtual restaurant” to refer to a secondary, delivery-only concept that’s launched out of an existing brick-and-mortar storefront.

    By contrast, most industry professionals use the term “ghost kitchen” to refer to a delivery-only concept that’s run out of a kitchen in a commercial commissary kitchen facility. Typically, a commercial commissary kitchen facility will contain anywhere from 5 to 50 delivery-only kitchens. Ghost kitchens might also be called satellite kitchens or dark kitchens.

Ready to start a virtual restaurant?

Launch your VR on Uber Eats by calling 833-ASK-EATS (833-275-3287).

Guidance and Tips

Learn more about virtual restaurants.

What is a virtual restaurant (and how do I start one)?

Small business marketing: 21 ways to grow your business

How to create a restaurant marketing plan

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