Geoff Madding, CEO of Nextbite, defines the concept as a “virtual kitchen.”
Madding has a background in restaurants and startups. He combined the two to start Nextbite, which recently entered the Memphis market.
The company began as an outgrowth of the tech company Ordermark, which consolidates the ordering process for restaurants using third-party delivery companies such as GrubHub and UberEats. Those companies give the restaurants individual tablets for processing orders. With Ordermark, one tool is used.
“The same technology cannot just aggregate orders, but it can also allow you to spin up a virtualized restaurant,” he said.
Nextbite partners with restaurateurs who fulfill orders based around the concepts and recipes provided by Nextbite.
Among the 12 Nextbite concepts are The Big Melt (patty melts); Monster Mac (mac and cheese); Toss It Up (salads); and Mother Clucker (Chicken).
In the Memphis area, Grilled Cheese Society, Outlaw Burger, and Mother Clucker — all Nextbite concepts — are run out of a kitchen at 1525 Airways Blvd., the former home of Smackers. The Smackers owners are not involved. The Memphis partner in Nextbite is unknown.
Nextbite is based out of Denver, Colorado, and was formed about four years ago.
“We create all the recipes and we provide all the training,” Madding said. “We let you use your existing supplier. We spec out all those different suppliers so that you can continue to order through your existing supply chain.”
It’s designed so that restaurateurs can continue to operate their own restaurants while making extra money by working with Nextbrand.
But, Madding is careful to say that Nextbite is not a franchise.
“I want to be really careful with that, because we do not franchise,” he said. “We have what we call fulfillment partners. There’s a lot that goes into franchising. It’s long-term contracts; it’s long-term commitments; there’s usually a lot of capital involved. That is not the way we are. We have partners who have signed a contract with us and within 16 days have been fulfilling orders out of their restaurants. Our contracts are all month to month. There’s no long-term commitment. There’s no upfront or ongoing fees that you pay us.”
Nextbite is currently in 40 states. Madding said that, ultimately, it’s pro-restaurant.
“This has kept them alive now, which is great,” he said. “It’s doing what it’s intended to do. Our intention was always to design the solution to be flexible, to be lightweight, to be an add on to their existing business. The smart restaurateurs out there going forward, the ones that make it through this tough time, are going to be the ones who have figured out how to really maximize their space, have figured out how to maximize their different delivery, and to maximize the relationship with their customers.”