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A Step-by-Step Guide on How To Get A Virtual Brand For Your Restaurant

The QSR industry is constantly changing and evolving, which means that companies have to stay on top of innovative marketing strategies if they want to get ahead. One way many QSRs have been able to do this involves creating a branded online presence known as a "virtual brand."

A virtual brand is a restaurant concept that exists solely online, with no physical storefront or dining area. It is created to leverage the power of delivery and online ordering platforms, allowing QSRs to expand their offerings and reach a wider audience with minimal overhead costs. Virtual brands can be operated out of an existing kitchen, with the same staff and equipment, making them an attractive option for QSRs looking to diversify their menu offerings and increase revenue.

But how exactly do you get a virtual brand for your restaurant? In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through the step-by-step process of getting a virtual brand through Concept Eight, a leading virtual brand provider here in Australia. From the initial enquiry form to the launch and support, we will cover everything you need to know to get started with a virtual brand and help your QSR stand out in a crowded market.

Step 1: Complete an Enquiry Form

The first step to getting a virtual brand for your restaurant is to complete an enquiry form on Concept Eight's website, which can be found here. Alternatively, you can make an enquiry through their social media channels, including Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

After you have submitted an enquiry, Concept Eight will contact you by phone within 48 hours to discuss your interest and suitability for a virtual brand. You can also email [email protected] to request their virtual brands guide or call 1300 059 678 for more information.

Step 2: Site Visit & Assessment

If you qualify and wish to proceed with getting a virtual brand, the next step is to have a site visit and assessment at the location where the virtual brand will operate from. Concept Eight has Business Development Managers (BDMs) and Operational Excellence (OPEX) coaches located across all Australian states to provide support to franchise partners.

Before the visit, you will be asked to complete a two-page business plan as a template, an application form, and sign a confidentiality agreement.

During the visit, a BDM or OPEX coach will review the brand guide with you and take photos of your existing kitchen to complete an audit and determine the equipment required to cook the menu items relevant to the virtual brand.

Step 3: Brand Introduction

The next steps will be food sampling at Concept Eight, followed by financial assessment and budget modelling. As part of the process, you will be invited to sit down with a BDM or OPEX coach to review the Concept Eight budget forecasting template for virtual brands.

This operating forecast tool provides a monthly and annual forecast and a snapshot of net sales with all relevant costs included if appropriate. You will then take the budget tool away with you to model a few different scenarios.

One of the Concept Eight team members will follow up with a phone call to discuss and finalise this document and request a copy to be sent back for filing.

Step 4: Approved Applicant Status

The next stage requires the payment of the $10,000 franchise fee, which covers a range of services and support provided by Concept Eight, including a comprehensive training program, document preparation, opening marketing campaign, project facilitation, and one supporting virtual brand. Additionally, there is a $1,500 application fee (all brands) which serves as a security bond, and a 12-month subscription to the Hubster delivery platform POS.

After paying the franchise fee and application fee, you are now an Approved Applicant, and the process of launching the virtual brand can begin. At this stage, a Heads of Agreement is signed, which outlines the terms and conditions of the agreement, including the seven-year term that commences when the virtual brand goes live and is operational. This provides a clear framework for both parties to operate within, ensuring a mutually beneficial partnership and the best chance of success for the virtual brand.

Step 5: Equipment Purchase (If Applicable) And Installation

Depending on the existing equipment available in the commercial kitchen, there may be a need for additional CAPEX to purchase new equipment. During a site visit, an OPEX coach or BDM will audit the existing equipment and determine if it is suitable to cook the recipe items for the relevant menu. In the case where additional equipment is required, Concept Eight works with a group of national equipment suppliers who will assess the information provided and then issue a quote for consideration.

Once the procurement of equipment from the state supplier is confirmed, with a delivery date in place, the next step is to book the installation and complete all necessary safety checks. This ensures that the installation is completed in a timely and efficient manner, with all safety protocols observed. Concept Eight works with trusted equipment suppliers to ensure that the virtual brand's equipment is of high quality and fit for purpose. This stage is critical to the success of a virtual brand because it ensures that equipment necessary for production, quality control and customer satisfaction is in place.

Step 6: Training and Virtual Brand Launch

The last process to get a virtual brand for your restaurant involves comprehensive training and a successful launch. With Concept Eight, the virtual brand launch process is comprehensive and well-supported. From training to marketing, everything is carefully planned to ensure the success of your virtual brand.

Concept Eight ensures that franchise partners are well-equipped to handle the virtual brand's menu items with confidence and ease. An initial skill assessment test is conducted to determine the partner's current level of proficiency, which then dictates the length of the training period. Typically, the training lasts 2-3 days, during which partners receive a cookbook with step-by-step instructions for each recipe and a pantry list template for the relevant menus.

This comprehensive training program equips partners with the knowledge and skills they need to maintain consistency in food quality and safety standards, which are vital for a successful virtual brand. Additionally, franchise partners can expect support from a BDM to ensure food safety compliance, delivery platform interactions, and operating procedures.

After training is complete, it's time to prepare for the launch of your virtual brand. On average this whole process will take 8-10 weeks to complete—but it can vary based on different factors encountered along the way.

As part of the launch, franchise partners receive two days of support to introduce the new menu items to their customers. Moreover, national marketing campaigns are confirmed to boost brand awareness, and limited time offers are promoted nationally through digital and social channels, and point of sale material. To ensure maximum reach, Concept Eight works with top-notch agencies to create social content, videos, community engagement, and influencer marketing, thereby driving customers into your restaurant.

Congratulations! You have now launched your own C8 virtual brand. With C8’s proper training and support, you can confidently introduce new menu items to your customers, while national marketing campaigns and promotions will help your virtual brand stand out and attract new customers.

Welcoming Your QSR to Concept Eight

As a partner, you become part of an Australian company with 25 years of experience in the food industry. Concept Eight's commitment to your success doesn't end with the launch of your virtual brand. The company will continue to provide ongoing support across a range of services, from business operations to financial guidance—ensuring that yours continues growing in the right direction.

One of the key benefits of partnering with C8 is having a dedicated Business Development Manager (BDM) who will work with you on all aspects of your franchise operations. Your BDM will be your direct link to the company, providing guidance, financial analysis, and monitoring operational standards. They will also help you manage labour, expenses, and local marketing, among other areas. With their support, you can focus on delivering quality food and exceptional customer service.

Moreover, as a multi-brand operator, you have the opportunity to boost your business performance and sales by maximising the use of existing kitchen space, pantry items, equipment, and labour. This can lead to additional sales with minimal additional operating costs, attract new customers, improve market share, and enhance operational efficiencies. The C8 team can provide financial guidance to help you achieve these goals and diversify your revenue streams.

At C8, the company is dedicated to their partners' success and growth. As part of the C8 family, you can count on their ongoing support to help you achieve your business goals.

If you are serious about making a business change in your QSR and want expert help with branding, marketing and strategy from one of Australia's leading virtual brands, C8 would love to discuss opportunities for working together. Get in touch through [email protected]

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