Want to have your own Talladega night at home with some food straight from the track?
Good news: You can now scarf down a Tallamento Dogwich or Daytona Speedway Firecracker Dog while watching Kyle Larson race around the track on your TV by ordering from the new NASCAR virtual restaurant through the DoorDash, a new custom-built app, or through the website.
Called NASCAR Refuel, the new race-car restaurant is brought to you by the same folks who created the MrBeastBurger virtual restaurant concept, Virtual Dining Concepts.
“As a NASCAR fan myself, I know the crowds on race day are there for the excitement of the sport, and of course for the food,” said Robert Earl, the company’s founder, and longtime restaurant entrepreneur, in a release sent to the Spoon. “Our menu highlights specialties from NASCAR racetracks, so race fans can enjoy the NASCAR food experience year-round at home.”
The technology behind the app and the website were provided by Lunchbox, a startup that creates digital commerce platforms for restaurants.
It’s not all that surprising a sports brand like NASCAR would launch its own virtual restaurant concept. Sports businesses make billions of dollars each year from merchandising, so why not start selling your food as well? In all reality, it probably won’t be long before we can have our favorite baseball park or hockey rink food made by a local host kitchen and delivered to our home.
The question is whether these virtual food extensions of sports brands will be successful. There’s certainly potential; If you’re a diehard NASCAR fan or love baseball or football, getting a ballpark burger could be a great way to spend a game or race day.
Where things could fall down is in execution in the local markets where it’s available. NASCAR Refuel will work in a similar way to MrBeast, where VDC kitchen partners can learn the menu and start offering the food in their market.
The reviews for MrBeast Burger have been ok but not great. Perhaps not surprising since the virtual burger restaurant expanded very fast (300 locations within the first month), which means many different kitchen partners across the country.
And that’s the thing: each virtual restaurant will only be as good as the local kitchen making them. This means NASCAR is trusting their brand with a local host kitchen, as would be the NFL or NBA.
But who knows? If NASCAR’s virtual restaurant efforts go well, the temptation to get fans to pay for overpriced food outside of the sports venue may be too tempting to pass up.