TikTok star Larray stirs up new mac and cheese ghost kitchen in Houston

Sandler, E. (2021, August 18). Tiktok Star Larray stirs up new Mac and cheese ghost kitchen in Houston. CultureMap Houston. Retrieved October 7, 2021, from https://houston.culturemap.com/news/restaurants-bars/08-18-21-larray-tiktok-youtube-star-mac-and-cheese-ghost-kitchen/.

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Add social media starts to the list of celebrities getting into the ghost kitchen business. Larray, a musician and content creator with almost 40 millions followers across TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, has launched a virtual restaurant devoted to mac and cheese.

Available now via third-party delivery apps, Larray’s Loaded Mac puts a creative spin on the familiar comfort food. The seven-item menu starts with the four-cheese blend Classique; other options include LBT (bacon, cherry tomatoes, arugula, and two kinds of Cheddar) and the Feelin’ Risky (pulled pork, crispy onions, Fritos, barbecue sauce, Cheddar). Prices range from $11-16. 

“Some of my fondest memories from growing up are making mac and cheese in the kitchen with my grandmother,” Larray said in a statement. “Her original recipe was always a family favorite and gave me the inspiration to create Larray’s Loaded Mac. I am so excited to share our favorite dish with fans and fellow mac and cheese lovers.”

Larray partnered with Virtual Dining Concepts to translate those family recipes and to launch the project in cities across the country. In addition to Houston, Larray’s Loaded Mac is available in Austin and Dallas, as well as Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, and more. Expect the company to add other content creators as partners in the future. 

“We are focused on working with digital-first talent by helping them create an ownable virtual dining brand,” said Robbie Earl, VDC co-founder. “By tapping into the creator economy, we’re not only playing a part in growing the influencers’ personal brands but also further helping the restaurant industry leverage the digitally native community. Having Larray join the virtual food space provides him with another way to engage his fans, this time with food deliveries in 30 minutes or less, and have them be a part of something that means so much to him.” 

Houston is no stranger to celebrity-backed ghost kitchens. Chef David Chang’s Fuku arrived here in April, and actor George Lopez brought his tacos in June. 

TikTok star Larray stirs up new mac and cheese ghost kitchen in Austin

Sandler, E. (2021, August 18). Tiktok Star Larray stirs up new Mac and cheese ghost kitchen in Austin. CultureMap Austin. Retrieved October 7, 2021, from https://austin.culturemap.com/news/restaurants-bars/08-18-21-larray-tiktok-youtube-star-mac-and-cheese-ghost-kitchen-aus/.

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Add social media starts to the list of celebrities getting into the ghost kitchen business. Larray, a musician and content creator with almost 40 millions followers across TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, has launched a virtual restaurant devoted to mac and cheese.

Available now via third-party delivery apps in major Texas markets, including Austin, Larray’s Loaded Mac puts a creative spin on the familiar comfort food. The seven-item menu starts with the four-cheese blend Classique; other options include LBT (bacon, cherry tomatoes, arugula, and two kinds of cheddar) and the Feelin’ Risky (pulled pork, crispy onions, Fritos, barbecue sauce, cheddar). Prices range from $11-16. 

“Some of my fondest memories from growing up are making mac and cheese in the kitchen with my grandmother,” Larray said in a statement. “Her original recipe was always a family favorite and gave me the inspiration to create Larray’s Loaded Mac. I am so excited to share our favorite dish with fans and fellow mac and cheese lovers.”

Larray partnered with Virtual Dining Concepts to translate those family recipes and to launch the project in cities across the country. In addition to Austin, Larray’s Loaded Mac is available in Houston and Dallas, as well as Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, and more. Expect the company to add other content creators as partners in the future. 

“We are focused on working with digital-first talent by helping them create an ownable virtual dining brand,” says Robbie Earl, VDC co-founder. “By tapping into the creator economy, we’re not only playing a part in growing the influencers’ personal brands but also further helping the restaurant industry leverage the digitally native community. Having Larray join the virtual food space provides him with another way to engage his fans, this time with food deliveries in 30 minutes or less, and have them be a part of something that means so much to him.” 

Buddy Valastro Joins List of Celebrities Launching Virtual Brands for Digital Ordering

PYMNTS.com. (2021, September 28). Celebrities Launching Virtual Brands. PYMNTS.com. Retrieved October 3, 2021, from https://www.pymnts.com/restaurant-innovation/2021/buddy-valastro-joins-list-of-celebrities-launching-virtual-brands/.

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Buddy Valastro, a celebrity baker made famous by the series “Cake Boss,” among other reality shows, announced Tuesday (Sept. 28) that he is launching a virtual bakery brand, Buddy V’s Cake Slice, through ghost kitchen solution Virtual Dining Concepts (VDC).

“It’s cake Hoboken-style, Baby!!” Valastro said in a statement.

Through the concept, the cakes are baked at the Valastro family’s bakery, then frozen and shipped out to the kitchens running the virtual brand. Consumers can order these cakes through the brand’s Olo-powered website and app or through third-party delivery services.

VDC specializes in celebrity collaborations. Its list of partners features a handful of major names including Mariah Carey, Mario Lopez and Steve Harvey.

“I am a huge fan of Buddy’s and we have been talking for some time about working on projects together,” Robert Earl, founder of Virtual Dining Concepts, said in a statement. “Buddy V’s Cake Slice works on so many levels — everybody has their favorite cake flavor and with this brand, you can enjoy your own slice delivered right to you, wherever you are.”

Many celebrities and influencers have been using the virtual brand model to capitalize on their loyal followings with these low-effort, low-capex locations. In an interview with Karen Webster, Olo Founder and CEO Noah Glass recalled the instant success of MrBeast Burger, another VDC virtual brand created in partnership with YouTube celebrity MrBeast.

See also: Celebrity Ghost Kitchens Acclimate Consumers To The Delivery-Only Model

Olo CEO On The Path To IPO And Building A Restaurant Network

“MrBeast Burger was this phenomenon,” Glass said. “It was through our partnership with Robert Earl and his restaurant portfolio. He said, ‘I’m doing this thing, virtual additional concepts. There’s a celebrity angle to it. I know you’ve never heard of him, but I’ll tell you, Mr. Beast is a big deal, 80 million followers, and we’re going to launch Mr. Beast burger on top of your platform, and we’re going to do it across 200 of our kitchens.’”

This rapid proliferation of virtual brands has only been possible because of the dramatic growth in online delivery ordering since the start of the pandemic. PYMNTS’ study The Bring-It-To-Me Economy, created in collaboration with Carat from Fiserv, find that 58% of U.S. consumers are ordering food online more than they were before the pandemic, with 48% ordering from restaurants’ websites and having the food delivered to their homes more often and 46% ordering more from third-party aggregators.