The Restaurant & Takeaway Innovation Expo

15 & 16 JUNE 2021


Why you Should Optimise your Capacities with Virtual Restaurants

News about virtual restaurants (so called ‘dark kitchens’) are flooding the internet. Literally, because they only exist online. So what is it about the hottest innovation in takeaway that you can't find on your high street? Or any other in the country for that matter.  

Let's take a step back and consider the origins of virtual kitchens 

Virtual restaurants are born out of one simple fact: restaurants are not made for takeaways, they're made for eating in. Unfortunately for most restaurants offering takeaway, this is a totally different ballgame.

This is where virtual restaurants come in. As the UK takeaway market is growing rapidly (roughly 30% in the past decade alone), High street rents are ridiculously high and delivery apps are growing in popularity and availability, thus virtual restaurants are simply the logical solution to a problem that could not be ignored anymore (or at least should not).


The market allows different ways of executing virtual restaurants. What they have in common is that they all offer menus which are designed to taste great when they arrive at the customer's front door. They market their brands differently as there is no face-to-face interaction with customers. This allows them to focus on using as little kitchen space as possible so they rarely need more than one chef at a time to handle the orders. 

Shared kitchens increase revenue and reduce fixed costs. Also, most virtual restaurants share kitchen space with other brands. For example, they use the same storage, fridge and grill for a burger concept and a Korean BBQ. 

This may sound odd for you at first, but the concept is winning over innovative market leaders all over the world. Here’s why: 

- The upfront investment is comparably low: Ranging from 25.000 GBP upwards for setting up a new virtual restaurant compared to only 575 GBP to offer eatclever in your existing takeaway restaurant. 

- In the days of extortionate rents for great locations, the impact of fixed costs in an backalley, shared dark kitchen is reasonably low. 

- Getting your hands on great chefs has never been tougher. That's why some operators offer simple and fast to learn menus, so you become more independent from the chefs. 

If we look at overseas restaurant chains that dominated the news with their fast growth and innovation are tapping into the market of virtual restaurants. Chick-fil-A or Halal Guys for example are struggling to find prime locations in important markets, so they seize the great opportunity in partnering with dark kitchen operators. 

On the other hand, Europe has come up with a slightly different approach. Take for example deliveryheros’ healthy take in Scandinavia, UberEats’ dark kitchen in Paris or eatclever’s virtual restaurant brands in Germany, Switzerland and the UK. Compared to the US they all focus fully on creating new brands inside your existing restaurant. 

And that is where you can get your piece of the pie. With these operators you can use the kitchen space you already have very efficiently and gain more profits. 

Using delivery apps like deliveroo and UberEats, who are both currently investing heavily into dark kitchens, eatclever has developed a solution for the UK market that aims to take out some of the challenges you would face operating a virtual restaurant on your own. 

Challenges when building your own restaurant: 

As you won't have the asset of direct customer feedback in your restaurant and no face-to-face interaction, you need a strong and solid brand and marketing strategy. - What ingredients to use and how to prepare them can alter hugely compared with when your normal customer eats the food immediately after preparation. - You need to drive business to less busy times, like weekdays. With concepts that have a proven track record of driving sales on weekdays you have a huge advantage. 

The Hamburg-born concept of eatclever recently entered the UK as it’s fourth market and is quickly expanding to all corners of the UK. 

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