Joe Guszkowski on Aug. 18, 2021. (n.d.). Tech roundup: Grubhub is changing its controversial phone call system. Restaurant Business. Retrieved October 7, 2021, from https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/technology/tech-roundup-grubhub-changing-its-controversial-phone-call-system.
MrBeast Burger’s parent company tapped another online celeb for its latest brand. YouTube star Larray is the face of Larray’s Loaded Mac, a new delivery-only restaurant from Virtual Dining Concepts. The menu was inspired by Larray’s memories of cooking with his grandmother and features seven mac and cheese varieties as well as brownies and drinks. Larray has 40 million followers across YouTube, TikTok and Instagram, giving him a sizable platform from which to promote the new concept.
Larray’s Loaded Mac is now available in most major markets across the country, Virtual Dining Concepts said. Restaurants can work with the company to bring the menu into their kitchen as a delivery-only offering.
Barstool expands into food, with a frozen pizza and a home delivery business. Insideradio.com. (2021, September 23). Retrieved October 4, 2021, from http://www.insideradio.com/free/barstool-expands-into-food-with-a-frozen-pizza-and-a-home-delivery-business/article_ad67fbec-1cb1-11ec-80da-b3e9e28d0c62.html.
Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy is already known for his One Bite Pizza Reviews series on YouTube, and now his sports and lifestyle media brand is branching out beyond podcasts, TV and sports forging deeper into the world of food. Barstool is teaming up with Happi Foodi to launch the One Bite Frozen Pizza. The pizza will be available in Wal-Mart stores across the U.S.
“I’m taking over the frozen game,” said Portnoy in a video about the product launch. His review of their product delivered a 10 out of 10 rating.
Barstool Sports is also teaming up with Virtual Dining Concepts to join the food delivery business. Barstool Bites will be a delivery-only restaurant, offering a lineup of items including chicken wings, sliders, 14-inch subs, buckets of popcorn and fries. In other words, food someone might consume while watching a game.
Barstool Bites will be available in 300 cities nationwide. Virtual Dining Concepts relies on so-called “ghost kitchens” that use local restaurants to pack and deliver food using third-party apps like DoorDash and Grubhub for various brands.
Barstool Bites may also be expanding into physical restaurants and Barstool food trucks. “We’re going to experiment with giving our fans the ability to order the types of food we eat when we’re sitting on our couch watching football on Saturdays and Sundays,” CEO Erika Nardini told Bloomberg.
The delivery-only restaurant model has taken off during the pandemic. NPD Group says from June 2020 to June 2021, delivery-only restaurant orders increased by two-thirds. That compares to a 39% decline for in-restaurant dining. Bloomberg notes the industry is already crowded since they allow entrepreneurs to launch a restaurant without the large investment a physical location requires.
Food ventures are the latest in brand extensions for Barstool. It has also signed a multiyear branding rights deal with the Arizona Bowl. The move means the Dec. 31 game will air on Barstool platforms, not broadcast television. Barstool is also expanding its Barstool Golf Classic brand.
On the content side, earlier this month Barstool said it would create a new channel on the streaming television service Sling TV. The Barstool Sports Channel will feature a mix of sports and pop culture content including video versions of several podcasts. Barstool is reportedly developing several reality television series.
One thing Barstool talks less about these days is podcasting, although it remains a force in the audio industry. Barstool has 65 active shows which Podtrac said had a reach of 6.2 million listeners during August with downloads and streams topping 28 million. But those numbers are down significantly after Call Her Daddy defected to Spotify with an exclusive distribution deal that began June 1. Portnoy said the loss of the show will hurt the company’s bottom line since it was by far the biggest podcast revenue generator for the company. He also said they are looking at trimming some expenses as a result of losing the series.
Since launching in 2003, Barstool Sports has expanded from a website to podcasts and videos. Since casino operator Penn National Gaming bought a 36% share in the company in January 2020, Barstool has also put an increased emphasis on sports betting across its platform.
Campisi, V. (2021, October 3). Barstool Sports aims to become major player in Virtual Kitchens. The Food Institute. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://foodinstitute.com/focus/barstool-sports-aims-to-become-major-player-in-virtual-kitchens/.
Dave Portnoy, founder of the pop culture site Barstool Sports, is jumping in on the virtual ghost kitchen trend, partnering with Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl to launch a virtual restaurant concept built around the Barstool brand, reported Bloomberg (Sept. 22).
BARSTOOL BITES JOINS GROWING LIST OF VIRTUAL BRANDS
Debuting next month, Barstool Bites will offer 14-inch sandwiches, spicy chicken wings, dips and buckets of flavored popcorn. Though the concept will follow the traditional ghost kitchen playbook for now, physical restaurants and Barstool food trucks are also on the horizon.
“We’re going to experiment with giving our fans the ability to order the types of food we eat when we’re sitting on our couch watching football on Saturdays and Sundays,” said Erika Nardini, Barstool’s CEO, as reported by Bloomberg.
Hundreds of local restaurants will prepare Barstool’s food and deliver via third-party apps like Grubhub and DoorDash. Barstool Bites follows in the footsteps of other pop culture brands and personalities getting into ghost kitchens, such as Mr. Beast Burger, which launched as a virtual brand last December with over 300 locations.
Portnoy picked an opportune time to enter the market, as ghost kitchens are continuing in their pandemic-boosted boom. In the 12 months through June of this year, delivery-only restaurant orders in the U.S. jumped 66%, while on-premises dining fell 39%, according to NPD Group.
NOT BARSTOOL’S FIRST FORAY INTO FOOD AND BEVERAGE
Though Barstool Bites is a new venture, the media company has been making its way into the food and beverage space over the last several years.
Portnoy is famous for his popular One Bite Pizza review videos. The brand has become so synonymous with pizza that it even launched a frozen line with Walmart earlier this month.
The company has also been making moves in the beverage space. In 2019, the company partnered with New Amsterdam Vodka to launch a spirit called Pink Whitney, while in 2020, Barstool teamed up with High Noon for new flavors and a media partnership. Additionally, Barstool inked a deal with Revitalyte this year to add its own offering of the brand’s electrolyte recovery drink.
Fuller, A. (2021, August 27). Want to eat like you’re at a NASCAR Track? Orlando’s Robert Earl can help with that. orlandosentinel.com. https://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/os-bz-robert-earl-nascar-delivery-20210827-yqqqo2so45gzbdz3uuiquqcbly-story.html.
The latest delivery-only restaurant backed by Orlando restaurateur Robert Earl will offer hotdogs, pimento cheese sandwiches and other menu items from NASCAR racetracks across the country.
The delivery-only restaurant, NASCAR Refuel, will be available on DoorDash and the NASCAR Refuel app and website. Locations started to go live Friday.
It will feature a menu of concession stand eats selected from 12 NASCAR-owned racetracks, according to a news release. Offerings will include the Daytona Firecracker Dog, a hotdog topped with jalapeño, coleslaw and pepper, as well as the Darlington Pimento Cheese Sandwich.
Earl, who is behind Planet Hollywood and other national eateries, has been creating virtual restaurants with his company Virtual Dining Concepts.
Virtual restaurants allow eateries to add new menus under different names on delivery apps without the expense of additional physical space. One of Earl’s other virtual restaurants is Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Kitchen, a partnership with Food Network star Fieri.
“With NASCAR Refuel, we are continuing our mission to assist restaurants by producing virtual brands that provide crucial added revenue, which is needed now more than ever,” Earl said in the release.
“It’s a pleasure to offer our fans NASCAR Refuel, so we can bring a piece of the track experience, our delicious dishes inspired by our entire track portfolio, to them,” said Chip Wile, NASCAR senior vice president and chief track properties officer, in the release.
NASCAR Refuel is a partnership between Virtual Dining Concepts, DoorDash, and NASCAR, which is headquartered in Daytona Beach.