The virtual restaurant revolution

By What Franchise, Jan 24, 2023

Why ghost kitchen franchises are evolving as fast as the technology enabling them

In the last few years, we’ve borne witness to huge changes in the QSR industry. Thanks to advancing technology and the growth of third-party on-demand food delivery platforms – accelerated by the pandemic – the order-in culture is booming. This, in turn, has enabled an explosion of virtual brand restaurants and ghost kitchen spaces.

A virtual kitchen is a delivery-only model which eliminates the eat-in option for diners and focuses purely on off-premise sales channels. Let’s say you already own a restaurant and want to introduce a new brand to your customers. Starting up a new brand with new premises is time-consuming, not to mention expensive. Instead, you can opt for a virtual restaurant that runs from the same kitchen as your existing traditional restaurant – a digital-only storefront serving customers with a delivery-exclusive menu.

London-based Peckwater Brands, founded by Leo Bradshaw and Sam Martin, helps restaurants to maximise their full potential by offering delivery franchises to already-operational kitchens.

“Peckwater acts as a partner to existing commercial food preparation sites, including restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels, pubs and more,” explains COO and co-founder, Sam. “We allow businesses with the surplus capacity to increase revenues by offering secondary menus through our virtual food brands. Through delivery aggregators, businesses can increase order volumes and generate additional revenue by accessing wider customer segments. Our support with marketing, customer analysis, and point of sale (POS) integration allows these businesses to become more profitable while still fulfilling their existing obligations.”

Peckwater currently owns and operates more than a dozen brands in the UK with international expansion plans into Europe, the US and the MENA region already underway. Their approach is to tailor the brands they already operate in each country and create new brands to appeal to the food tastes and trends of the local consumer. And speed is key. They are able to identify areas for potential expansion and then rapidly prepare a host kitchen to be running a new brand within a matter of days…