By Nicole Di Tomasso
JERICHO, N.Y. — Nathan’s Famous Inc. has announced a new agreement with Branded Virtual Kitchens Canada Ltd., which offers foodservice operators with existing kitchens the opportunity to add Nathan’s Famous menu as a virtual concept without any investment from the operators.
This new concept is unique to the foodservice and hospitality industry because the operators are only responsible for fulfilling the orders, while BVK Canada provides them with food, paper, POS technology and a third-party delivery service. Initially, Nathan’s Famous menu will be available for delivery only with Uber Eats. However, there may be future opportunities for operators to begin selling items in-house under certain circumstances.
“We’re thrilled with the response we have seen for Nathan’s Famous in Canada since expanding there in 2019,” says James Walker, senior vice-president, Restaurants, Nathan’s Famous, Inc. “We’re excited to move forward with the collaboration with Branded Virtual Kitchens to expand our footprint and to introduce their consumers to the Nathan’s Famous menu.”
“As operators ourselves, we’ve recognized that a built-out kitchen is solid gold real estate,” says Lewis Gelmon, president & CEO of BVK Canada. “We’re not charging any up-front fees whatsoever to our kitchen partners because we understand that this is a long-term process. We’re confident in the way our system works and it’s worth it for us to make these investments. Both [parties] will profit together over the long run.”
BVK Canada will offer operators Nathan’s Famous full menu, including hot dogs, specialty fries, Angus-beef burgers, chicken sandwiches, milkshakes and more. Some products will be shipped to Canada from the U.S. while other ingredients will be sourced in Canada to meet the taste profile of the brand.
“It’s roughly a 50-50 split, depending on the product,” says Lewis Gelmon, president & CEO of BVK Canada. “The hotdogs and speciality fries are shipped from the U.S., but other products, such as buns, beef and chicken are sourced in Canada based on the specifications of the brand.”
Operators that take advantage of this new opportunity can expect a 20 to 30-per-cent net deposit each week based on the gross sale from a customer, but they must be willing to menu build and follow the proper processes and protocols outlined by BVK Canada and Nathan’s Famous. In turn, operators can increase the hourly hours for existing staff and gain a competitive edge in today’s labour market. Furthermore, BVK Canada doesn’t require its kitchen partners to sign long-term agreements. Any operator that’s not completely satisfied can have the equipment removed from the restaurant.
“We don’t hold anybody’s feet to the fire,” says Gelmon. “There’s no risk here, only opportunity.”
Currently, BVK Canada is discussing the concept with dozens of interested operators. The first kitchen partnerships are expected to start running by the end of November.