Customer Stories

How The Lincoln Kitchen’s Eric Berindei opened his virtual food hall

Sara Detrik
Marketing Manager

Ghost kitchen real estate, or virtual food halls, are an unexplored field, a fact that Eric Berindei, owner of The Lincoln Kitchen, learned firsthand. Berindei has always been on top of trends — he started a restaurant delivery service in Valparaiso, Indiana, back in 2013 before the rise of Uber Eats and DoorDash.

Three years later, Berindei sold his restaurant company to pursue a new goal: ghost kitchen real estate. The Lincoln Kitchen is his new answer to the rising demand for delivery.

The Lincoln Kitchen is currently home to five virtual kitchens, with two more joining in 2022. As Berindei explored the new virtual brand field, he faced the first-hand challenges of how to start a ghost kitchen real estate business and get his community-driven idea off the ground. So how did The Lincoln Kitchen use contactless ordering to work through a new, unexplored field to become one of the first ghost kitchens in Indiana?

The Lincoln Kitchen’s quest to bring Indiana together

It wasn’t easy for Berindei to make it to opening day. Between filing permits, hunting for tenants, and constructing his own space, he was flying solo in new territory. Ghost kitchens in Indiana are few and far between, so he modeled his dream after many of the popular ghost kitchens in California.

The vision was simple, and Berindei broke it down for us:

“If a guy, who works at a restaurant in town, wants to start his restaurant, he might not have $250K to do it. But if he can put together some kitchen equipment, I can help him by providing the space, marketing, ordering solution, and exposure to help him get off the ground at a much lower cost. They can use it as a stepping stone for getting their restaurant.”

As he chased down signatures and planned out the architecture of the space, Berindei was also on the hunt for a restaurant online ordering system that would meet his specific set of requirements:

The Lincoln Kitchen's ideal ghost kitchen set-up

Berindei decided he needed a partner to execute his vision, so he dove into tech. He shopped around and checked out tons of software, like Toast, Lunchbox, and more. He thought he had found the perfect contactless ordering software but soon discovered they couldn’t deliver everything he wanted. Then, he met Bbot.

The best resource for ghost kitchens

With Bbot, Lincoln Kitchen was ready to get up and running within three weeks. Our multi-concept support system gave Berindei and the Lincoln Kitchen the exact tools they needed to manage their ghost kitchen’s menus and get their ghost kitchen delivery live. We took his checklist and made sure every box was fulfilled.

“When you’re looking at setting up a ghost kitchen, it can be a little overwhelming; you don’t understand how it all fits together. It’s hard to see the big picture when you focus on the smaller things like setting up the menu and getting approved by the health department. It’s a lot for someone who isn’t familiar with the process to not become intimidated.”

But Berindei wasn’t alone — he had help. Whenever he had a question, all he had to do was call his customer support person or send an email and get an answer from Bbot within the hour.

Whenever I have a problem, someone calls me right away. I can always get a hold of Bbot.

Using tech for hybrid delivery

The Lincoln Kitchen based its real estate model on popular California-based ghost kitchens. Although Berindei's Indiana-based company didn’t have the same resources as titans of the virtual brand industry, he wanted to mirror their hybrid first- and third- party delivery model

Berindei hired in-house drivers to supplement his third-party delivery process with the goal of increasing ghost kitchen revenue and letting him manage how fast orders went out.

Delivery orders placed through Bbot’s contactless ordering site were delivered 10 minutes faster than an average order. Additionally, Bbot orders brought in a 30% higher profit margin for Lincoln Kitchen’s delivery.

“Bbot orders are fast. As soon as the customer hits submit on an order, the printer gets the ticket.”

This increase in restaurant food delivery sales helps The Lincoln Kitchen gain more customers excited to discover their new favorite restaurant.

The Lincoln Kitchen’s bright (and big) future

Although Berindei’s ghost kitchen has only been open for a short time, he’s already excited about the possibilities for growth. He’s hoping to open two to three more ghost kitchen real estate properties like Lincoln. And he doesn’t plan on stopping there — Berindei shared the big plans he hopes to accomplish in the next 10 years:

“I want to use this as a model to create more of these concepts. If I start in these small college towns around here, maybe ten years from now, we’ll have 50 locations. That would be awesome. It would be a testimonial to why this works and how we can help somebody that doesn’t have the capital to create that success for themselves.”

The Lincoln Kitchen has seen the following trends since using Bbot

ALT TEXT: The Lincoln Kitchen has seen 30% less spend on third-party delivery apps since using Bbot.

Want to know more about how to start a ghost kitchen like The Lincoln Kitchen? Watch How to grow your virtual brand for the complete picture.

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