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Screenshot: Axios

Two startups are partnering to create NASCAR Refuel, a virtual restaurant brand that delivers food creations previously sold only at the racetrack.

Why it matters: A world of ghost kitchens is creating a new opportunity for themed delivery food, among other new ideas.

Details: NASCAR Refuel is a project of online ordering company Lunchbox and Virtual Dining Concepts, a pioneer in delivery-only restaurant concepts launched by Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl.

  • Its menu includes items named for various race tracks and locations, such as the “Grid Melt” and “Tallamento Dogwich."
  • Launched quietly last week, NASCAR Refuel is in hundreds of locations, with delivery via DoorDash.

The big picture: Entrepreneurs and existing restaurants are trying to figure out just where the opportunities are in a world where some restaurants exist only online. Chuck E Cheese, for example, has been selling online delivery pizza under a different brand.

What they're saying: Lunchbox CEO Nabeel Alamgir told Axios that virtual restaurants open up possibilities for all kinds of brands, ranging from well-known leagues and teams to YouTube celebrities like Mr. Beast, whose burger business is in 600 locations across the country.

  • "Soon we will see chefs and restauranteurs from lower income background who otherwise could never open a restaurant with a 10-year lease."

Go deeper: You’ve Heard of Ghost Kitchens. Meet the Ghost Franchises. (NYT)

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Sep 24, 2021 - Economy & Business

German delivery startup Gorillas is raising $1 billion

Photo: Tobias Schwarz/AFP via Getty Images

Gorillas, a German grocery and convenience item delivery platform, reportedly is raising $1 billion at a $2 billion pre-money valuation from backers like Delivery Hero.

Why it matters: This reflects how "legacy" delivery players are seeking access to instant, hyperlocal upstarts (i.e., the GoPuff model). That's why DoorDash was in talks earlier this year to back Gorillas, but reportedly is participating in a round for rival Flink at a $2.1 billion valuation.

29 mins ago - Technology

Facebook changes corporate name to Meta

Screen shot of CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company's "Connect" virtual event

CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said the social media giant is renaming its company Meta.

Why it matters: The effort is meant to shift its image from a social media platform to a “metaverse” company that focuses on building virtual work and social communities.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Filings show Sweetgreen isn't profitable, despite claims

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Restaurant chain Sweetgreen on Monday filed to go public, and revealed that it lost money in each year since 2014.

Why it matters: The company lied when it repeatedly told reporters it was profitable.