November 30, 2020 – As of Saturday, all restaurants are closed due to new stricter epidemiological measures, but it seems like the gastro scene is still vibrant, as there are some new virtual restaurants opening in Croatia.
Although virtual restaurants existed long before the coronavirus pandemic, it was during the pandemic that their market flourished due to the growing delivery market. Restaurant owners have started renting kitchens and cooking exclusively for delivery, and those restaurants are also called “dark kitchens” or cloud, ghost, or delivery-only restaurants.
However, just like visitors of classic restaurants, virtual restaurants visitors enjoy the overall experience, because, on online delivery services, everything looks like you are ordering food from a real restaurant. From branding to menus, everything works like delivery from a real restaurant, not from a catering or food factory. The only difference is that a virtual restaurant physically doesn’t exist anywhere.
Virtual Thai restaurant
The advantages of this restaurant model are obvious, especially during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. Some restaurants in Croatia have turned to this business model too.
As Jutarnji list reported, Bistro 5, one of the first virtual restaurants in Croatia was opened in March in the middle of the first closure of catering facilities. The team of the Zagreb restaurant Pod Zidom then devised and launched a virtual version of the restaurant in just half a day. They continued their work under the name Bistro 5, and for the new virtual restaurant, they designed a special new menu, different from their previous menu in their physical restaurant.
After the re-closing of catering facilities, the team behind Zagreb’s restaurants Pod Zidom and Ficlek decided to launch a new virtual restaurant. This time it is a Thai restaurant called Siam Thai, and delivery starts tomorrow. For now, their offer will only be available via delivery. The owner of Borna Janeš said to Jutarnji list that the opening of a Thai restaurant has been his long-term wish and that this whole uncertain situation has only accelerated the process.
Due to current measures, he has closed its restaurant Pod zidom for now, but neighboring Ficlek is still making delivery via Wolt delivery service, and food from Siam Thai restaurant will be available in the same way.
Targeted at younger people
Another first virtual restaurant in Croatia opened in June in Crikvenica under the name Manjon. The owners of the cult restaurant Rubin Kitchen&Wine decided to expand their top offer, but for delivery, they lowered prices, reported Večernji list.
Also, as reported by Kult Plave Kamenice, a series of three new virtual restaurants were opened by the team behind the restaurants SoHo Sushi and Hanami. Their first virtual restaurant, Cali burger, is dedicated only to burgers with two side dishes. The second one, Ribs for Cribs, is specialized for ribs, and Dixie Chicken in fried chicken.
These restaurants are precisely targeted at younger audiences, with the simplest formats and genres reminiscent of America’s most popular fast-food chains. All of them are already available on the Wolt delivery service and should be available on other platforms soon. Owner Igor Čimbur and his associates announced that they will soon launch new concepts.
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