MrBeast, a Youtube star with over one billion video views, launched a 300-location burger chain including a location in Vacaville instantaneously with the help of ghost kitchens. Announced in December 2020, MrBeast collaborated with the ghost kitchen startup Virtual Dining Concepts to create MrBeast Burger. Virtual Dining Concepts connects his celebrity restaurant brand with established kitchens, with existing labor and equipment. On its website, it says “MrBeast Burger operates out of existing restaurant kitchens, allowing restaurateurs to add a new source of revenue without impacting the operation.” Customers can order from the menu through the MrBeast Burger app, Uber Eats, and DoorDash, then schedule for delivery.
When we looked up the MrBeast Burger’s kitchen location in Vacaville, the listing shows the same address as Fosters Freeze on Merchant Street. For Fosters Freeze and the other restaurants MrBeast Burger has partnered with, this could lead to a nice production boost in the midst of shutdown orders from the pandemic. We are awaiting a response from Fosters Freeze regarding this possible merge.
According to Virtual Dining Concepts, the company helps restaurateurs by selecting the food brand that best fits the current equipment set up, then giving them the training, packaging, and marketing support to “best maximize your kitchen’s earning power in your area.”
VDC is not the first company to bring the virtual (aka ghost) kitchen idea to fruition. Other businesses in Solano County are running similar operations. Chili’s in Vacaville has the virtual restaurant It’s Just Wings, which can be ordered on DoorDash. Denny’s in Cordelia has The Burger Den, which is now available to order on DoorDash and soon to be available on Postmates and Uber Eats. In Suisun, The Meatball Kitchen is running virtually through DoorDash, Postmates, and GrubHub. In Vacaville, the Thai Rice Bowl (Cloud Kitchen) is operating in the same facility as The Chicken Hawkers and available through GrubHub.
While the shutdown has introduced new customers to DoorDash, Grubhub, and Postmates, people will also likely want to return to dining in-person at some point.
Do you believe this concept of virtual restaurants with delivery-only options will hold up long-term and become an emerging market, or do you see a fall once restaurants allow dine-in post-pandemic? Let us know in the comments below.