The company behind popular virtual brands like MrBeast Burger has raised $20 million in a Series A funding round.
Virtual Dining Concepts, which has created about a dozen delivery-only add-on brands for restaurants, said it will use the money to develop its technology, flesh out its corporate team and provide more marketing and support to restaurant partners.
Virtual Dining Concepts was founded in 2019 by restaurateur Robert Earl, Earl Enterprises CMO Trish Giordano and Earl's son Robbie. It has been at the forefront of the celebrity virtual brand trend, launching concepts with Guy Fieri, Mariah Carey and Tyga in addition to YouTube celebrity MrBeast Burger. That concept became an overnight sensation when it was introduced late last year.
Restaurants can license the brands and prepare the food in their kitchens to generate extra revenue.
Virtual brands became one of the industry's hottest trends during the pandemic as full-service restaurants looked to take advantage of the shift to takeout. As a result, virtual brand companies are attracting lots of attention from investors. C3, Acelerate, Salted and Mealco are among the companies that have raised money this year, bringing in a total of more than $120 million.
Contributing to Virtual Dining Concepts' funding round was Spice Private Equity, a subsidiary of GP Investments, which has existing ties to the Earls. In May 2020, Earl's restaurant company, Earl Enterprises, teamed up with GP to buy the Bravo Cucina Italiana and Brio Tuscan Grille casual-dining chains. Many Bravo and Brio locations now offer Virtual Dining Concepts brands, as do Earl's other restaurants, Buca di Beppo and Planet Hollywood.
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