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/.
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.
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“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.