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In New York's Dystopian Future, All Cooked Food Will Come From 'Virtual Restaurants'

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Who needs a dining room when you've got a commissary kitchen and Seamless?

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Two years ago, Tribeca Citizen uncovered a network of fake downtown restaurants doing business on Seamless. The practice of one restaurant establishing multiple online identities quickly spread to other parts of New York City. And now, two savvy entrepreneurs have created a very successful company called Green Summit that's predicated on the notion that diners really don't care if their food comes from a restaurant that actually exists in the real world. Unlike companies like Munchery, Maple, and Savory, which are delivery-only restaurants with singular identities, Green Summit offers menus from eight different virtual restaurants, each with their own branding and homepages. Diners order from these restaurants via Grubhub or Seamless, and the food is prepared and delivered from one of Green Summit's two commissary kitchens.The parent company has no online identity whatsoever — it's untraceable.


Partners Todd Millman and Peter Schatzberg built Green Summit a few years ago with a $1 million investment, and they predict that they'll bring in $30 million in revenue this year. Green Summit's stable of virtual restaurants includes 'Leafage (salads), Butcher Block (sandwiches). Maya Blue (Mexican), and Grind (a knock-off of the Meatball Shop). They briefly had a Mediterranean virtual restaurant but they took it off Seamless when it didn't work out. Schatzberg and Millman estimate that they lost $25,000 on that venture, but they didn't have to fire anyone or get out of a lease. All they had to do was pull it off Seamless and — poof! — it was gone.

[Grind Meatballs]

GrubHub recently offered a line of credit to Green Summit's founders to help them grow. The company's CEO, Matt Maloney, tells Crain's: "We love the innovation and quality they’ve brought to the space....We absolutely want to continue supporting virtual restaurants through our ordering platform, by driving orders their way, and we would seriously consider any other opportunities to directly support virtual restaurants with this structure." During the lunch rush, Green Summit sees about 600 orders across all of its brands.

Later this year, the company plans to launch a sushi brand called Hummingbird which, like the other eight restaurants, will only exist online.