Three thought leaders behind some of the industry’s leading virtual brands took to the MURTEC stage to share their triumphs, their challenges, and to share what's next in this red-hot segment of the restaurant industry.
Andre Vener, Founding Partner,Dog Haus Worldwide; Aaron Noveshen, Founder & CEO, Starbird Chicken; and Sherri Landry, Chief Marketing Officer, CEC Entertainment, shared their very different and very successful approaches to virtual brands at MURTEC.
Best known for its Chuck E. Cheese brand, CEC launched its virtual brand, Pasqually’s Pizza and Wings back in 2020. “We quickly knew that a brand like Chuck E. Cheese needed to do something different,” explained Landry. “We had considered a virtual brand and how do we fully leverage our operational infrastructure for some time; the pandemic just made it happen faster.”
The restaurant operator was already considering a virtual brand to leverage its existing operational infrastructure; Chuck E. Cheese and the Peter Piper Pizza brands have offered pizza for almost 50 years, the challenge was taking it to the next level and delivering pizza. To appeal to more mature palates, the flavor profile and ingredients were elevated, Landry explained.
75% of consumers prefer to order delivery direct from the restaurant, according to HT's 2021 Customer Engagement Technology Study.
About five years ago, Starbird Chicken, a super-premium, fast-food restaurant, opened its first location in Silicon Valley and has expanded to five brands under the Starbird banner to include salad, wings, garden and bowls.