Chef Hillary Sterling is passionate about Nashville hot chicken. This love started when she took a trip to Nashville with other chef friends. “Upon returning to New York City, I longed for that heat intensity,” she commented, “and I wanted to bring it alive in NYC.”
Opening a brand new, brick-and-mortar restaurant is a huge undertaking, and Chef Hillary Sterling already had a full-time role at Vic’s in Manhattan. That’s when she decided to launch Cayenne as a virtual brand. “During the pandemic, I realized I was not alone in missing hot chicken.” Chef Sterling commented, “this is such a guilty pleasure, and what better way to enjoy this style of cuisine than in the comfort of your own home.”
Reaching hungry customers with Grubhub Delivery
Virtual restaurants are delivery-only restaurant concepts that accept orders online through apps and websites. For Cayenne to reach hungry customers, it needed to tap into the millions of customers ordering takeout and delivery through online ordering marketplaces.
That is why Chef Sterling listed Cayenne on the Grubhub Marketplace. “We enlisted Grubhub for Cayenne because we wanted a quality delivery service to go with our quality food,” commented Chef Sterling.
Since listing Cayenne on the Grubhub Marketplace, Cayenne has reached a broader customer base who may not have discovered her concept through other platforms. “Grubhub has a completely different customer base than each other platform,” Chef Sterling said.
Driving order volumes during lunchtime with Grubhub Promotions
Cayenne’s success on the Grubhub Marketplace is not only a testament to Chef Sterling’s interpretation of Nashville hot chicken, but also to the strengths of Cayenne’s Marketplace listing.
Cayenne’s Grubhub menu features mouth-watering descriptions and insatiable food photography. These little details add up. According to Grubhub’s research, restaurants that include photos in their menu receive 70% more orders and 65% higher sales.
In addition, Cayenne has leveraged Grubhub’s free marketing tools to fuel promotions.
By using Grubhub’s promotions designed to capture first-time customers, Cayenne has been able to increase order volumes and drive additional revenue to its bottom line.
Making data-driven decisions to reduce food waste and meet customer demand
In addition to leveraging Grubhub’s promotions to drive order volumes during lunch, Cayenne has also utilized order data to drive menu decisions; “In the first two months, we noticed that our sides were just selling extraordinarily well, and we decided to add a couple more.” Chef Sterling explained, “Our data was telling us not just what to prep and how to prep, but also what customers were wanting.”
Not only have these insights enabled Cayenne to adapt their menu to meet changing consumer demand but it’s also enabled the restaurant to become more sustainable and reduce food waste, which not only positively impacts the environment but also Cayenne’s profit margin.
The Future of Virtual Restaurants
The future of the restaurant industry is never easy to predict, but Chef Hillary Sterling is confident virtual restaurants are here to stay. “I think this past year has taught us a lot. We will always long to go out to dinner but also really appreciate a night of takeout,” she said.
Chef Hillary Sterling has found success with her virtual restaurant concept, and she believes other restaurateurs will continue to build delivery-only restaurants. The emergence of virtual restaurants in the industry has enabled many entrepreneurs and chefs to test new concepts, launch a new restaurant, or expand their delivery footprint, all without adding additional overhead expenses.