How Virtual Brands Attract Real Customers

Restaurants branching into the space can attract new consumers—but transparency is key

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In February 2021, a new restaurant appeared in Steubenville, Ohio. Its name: Wings on Wheels. The menu featured what you might expect: chicken wings, soft drinks, sides of ranch and blue cheese dressing.

Everything was rather typical about the place, except for one thing: There were no booths or servers—let alone a building.

Wings on Wheels, you see, was a virtual brand, meaning the only way customers could get food was to order it through an app or website, then wait for it to show up at their front door.

The delivery-only concept did not sit well with some of the 116,000 people living in the Steubenville metropolitan area.



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This story first appeared in the Dec. 12, 2022, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.