Tucked inside industrial parks, commissary kitchens and refitted basements in cities like New York, Chicago and San Jose, these restaurants have no dining room, no wait staff, no takeout window and no signage.
Virtual restaurants, with their low overhead, are allowing restaurateurs to shift away from the capital-intensive model that kills 60% of new restaurants in their first five years toward something decidedly more techy.
By adopting a “launch, experiment and iterate” approach, these virtual restaurants resemble scrappy internet startups (only, when they say “apps,” they often mean appetizers).
By far the biggest company in the app-driven food-on-demand space is Grubhub.
Green Summit, which launched in 2013, has kitchens throughout New York City, Todd Millman, its co-founder, says.
“Most of our employees don’t move very much,” Mr. Millman says, explaining that each person is devoted to a specific set of tasks.