Virtual Restaurant

What is a virtual restaurant?

Delivery-only restaurant

A virtual restaurant is a restaurant that does not have a storefront or eat-in seating. Instead, virtual restaurants take only online and phone orders from customers, and they serve meals only via delivery. Virtual restaurants became popular and prevalent during the covid pandemic, which curtailed most restaurants' ability to provide indoor seating.

However, virtual restaurants existed prior to the pandemic. Most virtual restaurants operate out of an existing full-service restaurant's kitchen. This allows the virtual restaurant to create and serve food without purchasing its own storefront, keeping overhead costs down.

For example, a sit-down pizza place may operate a second, virtual restaurant that serves only wings. A customer who orders wings from the virtual restaurant may never learn they are actually ordering from a different "restaurant" that is operating within the pizza place.

Other names for virtual restaurants

You may also hear virtual restaurants referred to as ghost restaurants, ghost kitchens, virtual kitchens, shadow kitchens, and cloud kitchens.


Did you know Neighborhood Wings is a virtual restaurant run by Applebee's? Applebee's!

Related Slang


Updated September 21, 2021

Virtual restaurant definition by

This page explains what the slang term "Virtual restaurant" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the team.

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