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The ‘virtual’ restaurants you’ll never visit

Food delivery apps such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo are becoming so popular that investors have started putting millions of dollars into creating ‘virtual’ restaurants.

It looks increasingly likely ‘virtual’ restaurants will become the next central cog in the gig-economy machine. Food delivery apps are ubiquitous nowadays, but their origins in physical restaurants have a significant drawback: they weren’t built to serve massive influxes of takeaway orders while accommodating in-house customers.

Recognising the mass demand for more streamlined food services, huge companies are now focusing on creating an entirely new type of restaurant solely purposed towards preparing orders for takeaway apps… one with no dining space, waiters, chairs, cutlery, or crockery, purely chefs in ‘ghost’ kitchens churning out orders for tetchy drivers.

The biggest virtual restaurant to date is Taster; set up by former Deliveroo executive Anton Soulier. The French entrepreneur raised $8 million in funding through an initiative led by US investor Battery Ventures, Heartcore Capital, and other backers operating in London, Madrid, and his native home Paris.

Now the restaurant has over 100 employees, and most of the staff are hired to chef our endless weekend orders. This means the costs saved from paying waiters, bar staff, and maintaining a highly populated and appealing location can be put back into improving the technology, food quality, and prep efficiency.

For some, the thought of food orders being pumped out without conventional means of quality control, i.e. head chefs or restaurant managers, is a worrying one. But the next step in efficiency for this new age of digitisation and instant gratification undoubtedly resides in dedicated takeaway restaurants.

This much is evident from the momentous shift from conventional job markets to the gig economy in the last year – with one in 10 adults having made the transition in Britain.

Gen Z will undoubtedly be thrilled at the prospect of more convenient takeaway services. For them, convenience is the driver (excuse the pun) of efficiency, and technology is the vehicle to get them there.

What do you think about the prospect of virtual restaurants? Could we all be ordering our Michelin Star meals to our homes? Let us know in the comments.