Virtual dining has been redefining the food scene. What many considered to be another food trend, has gained momentum and been on a steady rise since.

Virtual dining refers to restaurants or food companies that focus on the delivery-only business model and serve customizable, restaurant-quality food anytime and anywhere. One of the most exciting benefits they offer is choice; by depicting an array of options that range in price, cuisines and healthy alternatives, this allows consumers to choose what they want from the comforts of their home.   

Why is it popular?  

The style of dining is popular with the younger generation at a time most reliant on tech-enabled concepts. Traditional restaurants have their own merits and dining out is an entertaining experience, but the demand to get things hassle-free overshadows them easily. The increasing weightage on work-life can leave no time to go out to eat or cook food at home. Ordering in is easy to do and isn’t anything tedious, which is what people look forward to after a tiring day. They’re also considerably cheaper than going out and easily available in a comfortable environment.   

Chef preparing food in cloud kitchen

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

Aside from the consumer’s point of view, the technical aspect also has many benefits, and restaurateurs are finally jumping on the bandwagon. Ghost kitchens and cloud kitchens are in high demand, as businesses try to stray from the traditional dining concepts. One of the biggest pros is the overall cost. The investment is relatively cheaper, and additional costs like seating and decor can be put into creating and providing good quality food instead. Chefs are also allowed room for experimentation and changes, which would be hard in a typical restaurant setting.  

While there are many pros to this concept, as with everything, there are cons as well. They can’t rely on impulse buying like restaurants as it is programmed as a one-stop buy. Customer service can also be a challenge considering the business model; it’s harder to accept complaints and provide solutions immediately. However, despite their issues, there is no shortage of customers as people nowadays prefer delivery over dining out and take-out. 

How has the pandemic changed this concept?  

With the ongoing pandemic, the concept of virtual dining has evolved. While many businesses changed routes for survival, others look at it as a new venture. Restaurants have introduced crafted virtual dining experiences. They conduct online meetings through popular video tools like Zoom and Google Meet and arrange for contact-less delivery of the food. The initiative came from understanding the need to connect with people, aiming to change the way family dinners and corporate meetings function to adapt to the current circumstance. Esseplore is one such food-oriented company pioneering for this revolutionary change.  With Urbane Gourmand and Virtual Meeting Training, Esseplore aims to provide a smooth and effortless experience that helps people connect through food.

Trends and fads usually have an expiration date, so calling this a trend might be farfetched. Virtual Dining has immense potential to outlive its status as a trend and redefine the experience as a whole. 

Tanya Jacob

Author Tanya Jacob

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