Why We Decided to Start a Virtual/Digital Restaurant Chain in Los Angeles
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What is a virtual/digital restaurant?
According to webstaurantstore.com, a digital restaurant or ghost restaurant is a delivery-only establishment that offers take-out only. These “ghostly” eateries don’t have a storefront, so customers aren’t able to dine in.
When JamaFo Jamaican Food started in May 2018 as a catering company mostly focused on corporate clients, our long-term goal was to always develop a B2C (Business-to-Consumer) segment to target a wider audience.
This opportunity became a possibility in April 2019 when we went ahead with plans to test the market with our first virtual restaurant location in Northridge, CA. about 30 minutes from Los Angeles, located in the northwest San Fernando Valley. This new segment is called JamaFo Jamaican Food Xpress.
Why a virtual/digital restaurant?
We love catering, but we also understand that catering is not for the masses. It requires somewhat of a medium – large budget and not many people can afford such a luxury for everyday consumption or require it at all.
Plus, taking catering beyond the corporate environment, means a reliance on private parties, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, get-togethers and other special occasions. We didn’t see this as the sole best growth option going forward.
JamaFo Jamaican Food Xpress allows us:
- Flexibility of concept: with our restaurant being primarily online and app based with small physical spaces for pickup (under 500 sq.ft), we can quickly set up locations anywhere and immediately reach a wide and available audience at the ready. We can also adjust our menu on the fly.
- Adjustable menu: we can easily assess best performing menu items and scrap non-performers without any hassle.
- Smaller financial investment: we cut out a lot of the usual overheads such as additional staff and other operating costs.
- Experimentation: we have the flexibility to easily try new ideas and be more creative.
How Will JamaFo Jamaican Food Xpress Reach Customers?
There is no better time to open a virtual/digital restaurant than in this digital age. With the prevalence of food delivery apps and review sites, there is so much growth potential within this niche.
JamaFo Jamaican Food Xpress offers up Jamaican and tropical-inspired fare via our website and popular apps like Postmates, Grubhub, UberEats, and DoorDash, delivering hot and ready to eat food right to your doorstep or office chair. With in-person pickup available from our soon to be open physical location at 22213 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, CA 91304.
By 2020, we aim to open two additional locations in West Hollywood and DTLA, bringing Jamaican food to the wider LA community. The awesome thing about a virtual/digital restaurant concept is how easy it is to execute and with our years of experience starting a restaurant chain in NYC and building a new catering business here in Los Angeles, we are confident in this model.
We will keep you updated on all the latest news and happenings as we launch JamaFo Jamaican Food Xpress and take some flavorful Jamaican offerings to a location near you.