- PepsiCo just launched a new ghost kitchen service to help its restaurant partners start and run virtual restaurant brands.
- The new service is part of PepsiCo Foodservice Digital Lab, which helps restaurants digitize various aspects of their business. That includes moving to delivery-only formats.
- PepsiCo will use the learnings from its 2021 “beverage-first” ghost kitchen initiative called Pep’s Place.
Why it matters:
PepsiCo’s announcement happens to coincide with new findings from the National Restaurant Association that list “convenience” as a top priority for restaurant customers right now.
“With the convenience of accessing any kind of meal or snack through delivery, curbside pickup, counter pickup, and drive-thru, any time of day or night, food ordering presents a unique opportunity to entice customers,” states the association.
Ghost kitchens and delivery-only brands being the epitome of convenience, PepsiCo picked a good time to launch its new service.
The CPG giant piloted its Pep’s Place ghost kitchen concept last year in partnership with US restaurant chain Famous Dave’s.
That concept inverted the idea of food and drink pairings. Customers could choose a PepsiCo beverage and match a curated meal item to their drink. The pop-up ran in select US locations for a limited time in 2021.
The newly launched ghost kitchen capability offers existing and future PepsiCo restaurant customers turkey virtual restaurant concepts. The Foodservice Digital Lab’s website currently lists Pep’s Place and a wings concept featuring Pepsi-owned Cheetos. More virtual brands are forthcoming, the company says.
Major US-based delivery services like DoorDash and UberEats manage the actual deliveries. PepsiCo will advise restaurant partners on starting ghost kitchens and virtual brands. It will also offer guidance on technology, menus and marketing.
Additionally, PepsiCo offers all of this to restaurants free of charge, according to Restaurant Business Online.
“What’s really important to us is that we’re being more than a beverage, snacks and food partner but being a go-to partner when it comes to opportunity like this,” André Moraes, head of Foodservice’s Digital Lab, told the publication.
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