The Norwich takeaways you might not have heard of - and the brands that really run them
Well-known chain restaurants are setting up ‘virtual’ delivery brands from their kitchens to cash in on the lucrative takeaway market.
A string of restaurants with branches in Norwich have set up the virtual or sub-brands for delivery websites such as Deliveroo and UberEats.
While the food is cooked in the same kitchens, they are listed separately with different names, often with no obvious link.
And the virtual entries do not have separate food hygiene ratings, with none of those found in Norwich having their own entry on the Food Standards Agency website.
It makes it more difficult to for consumers unaware of the link to check hygiene scores, as well as allergen guides.
In Norwich, several are listed on Deliveroo - including Birdbox and Burger Burger, based at Frankie and Benny’s, the burger and croque monsieur focused Stack and Grill and chicken brand Chef and Rooster, based at Café Rouge, Blazing Bird, run by Las Iguanas and Mac Shack, which Bella Italia is behind.
Some of the entries list their bigger brand counterpart on their address, while others just share a phone number or address.
It is part of a global trend for restaurants hoping to cash in on a slice of the delivery market, enabling them to focus on a particular part of its menu - often one that travels well.
Chris Scargill, tourism, hospitality and leisure partner at Larking Gowen, said: “We have seen quite a lot of places closing down and the task for businesses is to maximise the opportunity for demand for their product and consumer convenience.
“The ability to ring in and order you food for home delivery is a lot more flexible that having to get the family together, book the table at the right time and go out. With people being time poor there is a greater demand.”
He added: “It’s good because it creates capacity in restaurants that may have capacity in the kitchen but they may not have capacity in terms of seats.”
But he said the challenge for many restaurants would be ensuring quality did not drop during delivery, risking a negative reputation.
And he said it would be interesting to see how it developed over the coming years, and whether the virtual brands became more popular than the restaurants that set up them up in the first place.
While the idea has gained traction in the last 12 months, it is not a new phenomenon - in April, Deliveroo said it already had 51 virtual brands on its website, while UberEats has hundreds around the world.
And it is proving to be a success - the Deliveroo website, in advice to restaurants, says that 84pc of virtual brand customers have never ordered from the original restaurant menu, and some restaurants have reported profit increases of 70pc.
But, being new, it is yet to garner much reaction from consumers.
We contact the Casual Dining Group, which runs Café Rouge, Bella Italia and Las Iguanas for comment.
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