Emerging Brands

MrBeast Burger owner Virtual Dining Concepts acquires Man Vs Fries

The fry-centric virtual brand has nearly tripled in size since the acquisition thanks to partnerships with Mexican chains such as On the Border and Monterey’s Little Mexico.
Man Vs Fries
Man Vs Fries offers burritos stuffed with fries and other indulgent items. | Photo by Kimmy Kaczmarek

Virtual Dining Concepts, the owner of MrBeast Burger, Pardon My Cheesesteak and other delivery-only brands, has added another restaurant to its roster.

Man Vs Fries, founded as a popup in 2018 by Bay Area entrepreneur William Bonhorst, is considered one of the first virtual brands, or restaurants that have no physical location and are instead produced and sold by other restaurants. 

Its menu features a selection of indulgent, fry-centric dishes such as the customizable asada fries as well as burritos and quesadillas stuffed with, you guessed it, fries. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are also a staple ingredient for the brand, which is popular on college campuses.

It’s the first acquisition for Virtual Dining Concepts (VDC). The company declined to reveal financial terms of the deal. 

Since joining the company, Man Vs Fries has nearly tripled in size to 130 locations in 49 cities. Some of those initial locations are popups with full-service Mexican chains like On the Border, Casa Ole and Monterey’s Little Mexico, where customers can order Man Vs Fries items on the in-store menu as well as online. VDC said the hybrid approach has helped sales, with the brand generating up to $6,000 a week in some locations.

The brand is on track to generate $50 million in sales this year, and VDC is aiming to expand it to 1,500 stores, the company said.

“William Bonhorst has done an incredible job with the Man vs Fries brand, as it’s truly one of the standouts in the digital food service space with a loyal following and global reach,” said Robbie Earl, president and co-founder of Virtual Dining Concepts, in a statement. “We’re excited to take this brand to the next level, attracting new audiences across the nation and around the world.”

VDC’s other virtual brands include Mariah’s Cookies, Buddy V’s Cake Slice and Nascar Refuel. It says its brands are used by more than 30 restaurant chains across more than 2,000 locations.

Virtual brands took off early in the pandemic as a way for restaurants to generate revenue while dining rooms were empty. However, some operators have moved away from them more recently to focus on their core business. 

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