New Virtual Restaurants and Ghost Kitchens Franchises For E2 Visa

The rapid rise of Internet and mobile app-based delivery services has led to two new subsets of the restaurant industry; virtual restaurants and ghost kitchens. This fairly new market segment has gained momentum within the E2 Visa applicants. New franchises have popped up in this market.

Restaurants and Ghost Kitchens Market Definition

A ghost kitchen, also known as a cloud, dark, or shared kitchen, are commercial kitchens making food exclusively for delivery services. A ghost kitchen may be owned by one brand or create deals to provide food for several online brands.

Ghost kitchens can also be leveraged by traditional restaurants to optimize delivery services.

A virtual restaurant is a branded restaurant concept that depends entirely on the existence of online delivery services to operate. These entities have names, themes, and menus that can be accessed through their websites, if they have one, but mainly through services like UberEats, DoorDash, and Grubhub. They have no dining facilities of their own. They may own a ghost kitchen, partner with one or more, or work with brick & mortar restaurants to prepare their menu items.

Why is the Restaurants and Ghost Kitchens market COVID-19 resistant?

Virtual restaurants and ghost kitchens were already a growing phenomenon in the food delivery market space before the emergence of COVID-19. Many traditional restaurants were devastated by the enforcement of social distancing requirements that forced restaurants to close their dining areas. These establishments had to make a choice: close completely or move to a take-out and delivery model.

The virtual restaurants, however, never had a dine-in component to their business models, so the social distancing did not affect their sales. Arguably, some virtual restaurant concepts have been accelerated by the reluctance of people to leave their homes during the pandemic. However, it is difficult to find data on how the economic impact of COVID-19 related job loss offsets these factors.


Why is the Restaurants and Ghost Kitchens market performing well?

Virtual restaurants are a growing segment of the food delivery sales market space. Several research firms such as Statista, NPD Group, and the investment bank, UBS, have offered projections that the food delivery portion of the restaurant industry is expected to grow by nearly 20% annually through 2030 while physical restaurant visits remain flat.

Innovation and emulation are growth factors. Restaurant owners looking to maintain operations in the face of a shuttered seating area may turn to the virtual model to bring in revenue. Meanwhile, experienced restaurant entrepreneurs have seen the virtual models emerge and are recognizing that the approach has many advantages. A virtual model has lower startup costs and is more risk-tolerant than a traditional restaurant. Virtual restaurants require no costly build-outs, large payrolls for wait staff, or concerns about location, parking, and so forth.

If a brand concept fails to grab attention, it can be quickly made-over with a new menu and graphics. Advertising is highly efficient because placement on sites like UberEats puts the brand in front of the consumer at precisely the time they are seeking food options. No other form of ad can provide a more strategic placement.

Finally, the virtual models can exploit the enormous amounts of transactional data generated through the app-based purchasing process. Low performing menu items can be quickly removed, new items can be A/B tested, and promotions can be highly targeted based on real-time analytics.

What do E2 Visa Franchisees say about the Restaurants and Ghost Kitchens market?

E2 Visa Franchisees are attracted to the relatively low cost of entry to opening a ghost kitchen or virtual restaurant business. These franchises require no extensive site selection process or expensive construction of public spaces with tables, booths, counters, and attractive décor.

All that is necessary is to build, buy, or rent a commercial kitchen. The facilities also require less staffing, simplifying the management and training of employees.