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UberEats Is Taking the Lead in the Booming Virtual Restaurant Trend

The third-party delivery provider recently teamed up with Lettuce Entertain You to launch a ghost restaurant in Chicago.

The food delivery market is certainly not slowing down anytime soon. With an ever-increasing array of options and a projected value of $365 globally by 2030, brands in every industry are searching for new ways to capitalize on the trend. Here’s a new one: virtual restaurants

These virtual restaurants, complete with ghost kitchens, delivery-only menus and quick turnaround times, offer brands a way to cut costs, increase sales and collect consumer data. Third-party delivery platforms have been the leaders of this movement, with Uber Eats operating over 1,500 virtual restaurants in the U.S. and Canada. GrubHub even penned a blog post in June educated partner brands on how to increase sales through virtual restaurants and ghost kitchen operations. 

Now, GrubHub and restaurant group Lettuce Entertain You (great name) have teamed up to open Whole30’s first branded restaurant in Chicago. The diet-compliant menu will be exclusively accessible through GrubHub. 

Chipotle also teamed up with Whole30 recently for a similar concept—Lifestyle Bowls. These healthy option bowls were only available via mobile app pick-up and delivery orders. Brands like Cousins Subs have begun opening delivery-only operations to meet consumer demand and cut back on operational costs.

As foodservice franchises get used to the transition to third-party delivery, 2019 is shaping up to be the year of delivery-only offerings. With more people than ever eating food at home, before we know it dinner reservations and lunch dates may be a thing of the past