Dive Brief:

  • Grubhub on Wednesday launched MasterChef Table, a delivery-only restaurant featuring cuisine from MasterChef winners Kelsey Murphy, Dorian Hunter, Gerron Hurt and Michael Silverstein.
  • The concept is available in over 20 markets in the U.S., including Alexandria, Virginia; Boston; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Chicago; Los Angeles; New York City;  North Hollywood, California and Washington, D.C.
  • Restaurants can license and operate MasterChef Table within their existing kitchens, and Grubhub previously said it will support onboarding and fund inventory costs for operators who are part of the national launch. 

Dive Insight:

Grubhub considers virtual restaurant development as an opportunity for third-party platforms “to support operators and solve for some of the challenges they face when it comes to making these concepts a success.” Restaurant demand for these concepts is growing, as well. As of April, 41% of independent restaurants were operating virtual brands, per a study released by Grubhub and Technomic.

“The MasterChef Table virtual restaurant adds more delectable food options to Grubhub’s extensive lineup of eateries and provides an additional revenue stream to our restaurant partners,” Marnie Boyer, vice president of restaurant acquisition at Grubhub, said in a press release.

With millions of viewers watching MasterChef each week, Grubhub will benefit from a built-in fan base that may want to eat dishes from well-known chefs featured on the show. New customers would help Grubhub grow its market share, which continues to slip in the U.S. Most recently, it stands at at 14%, behind Uber Eats with 24% of the market and DoorDash at 59% during April, according to Bloomberg Second Measure.

Grubhub’s 320,000 restaurant partners in over 4,000 U.S. cities could provide significant white space for this virtual restaurant to fill. Still, the delivery firm will be competing with a growing base of more established host kitchen providers. Nextbite, Franklin Junction and C3 have facilitated host kitchens for several years, and have already developed processes to best match virtual concepts with specific markets and operators.

Unlike ghost kitchens, host kitchen operators use their existing space and labor to add another restaurant concept for delivery only. Many independent restaurants have struggled to maintain ghost kitchen operations because of labor and marketing pressures, according to Restaurant Business.