We live in a world of convenience these days, and I'm ok with that. In fact, I use the convenience more often than I want to believe I do. It all started with pizza delivery back in the day. The whole concept of being able to order food and have someone bring it right to my door was an incredible feat.

As time has gone on, we've grown dependent on different apps on our phones where we can do just about anything, including buying lottery tickets. One of the best concepts was when food delivery apps like GrubHub and DoorDash were put in front of us.

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When you talk about a game changer, these were it. No longer were we limited to just pizza joints and what they had to offer. Now, you could get food from one of your favorite restaurants, and not have to go in and deal with a wait to sit down, or a long drive thru line to sit in.

Over time, we've seen more and more restaurants get added to the app, and we've embraced them all. We've even seen some new restaurants pop up that we've never heard of. These restaurants are pretty specialized, it even says so in its name.

So why haven't we heard of some of these restaurants? I mean, the names on the app are places I've never seen while out and about. The wife and I decided to order something from one of them the other night. They looked to have some interesting burger concepts, so we decided to dive in.

Let me tell you my shock when I opened up the bag and noticed they were in containers from Denny's. Let me explain something to you. I didn't order this food from Denny's. My frustration and confusion battling each other at the same time was an interesting feeling.

Completely befuddled, the wife and I start looking up these places on the app we have never heard of, and they all had one thing in common. They were called "virtual brands". These are brands within a brand essentially that is targeted to specific styles of food, but they're actually from a bigger restaurant.

Allow me to break down a few of these "virtual brands" for you so you know where you're ACTUALLY ordering from in DoorDash.

DoorDash screenshot
DoorDash screenshot
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THE BURGER DEN

We'll start with the one that we ordered from. The Burger Den has some very interesting burgers to choose from, including one with mozzarella sticks on top of the burger. The different types of burgers had our mouths watering thinking we were about to find a new hidden gem to eat at.

Well, the order shows up and sure enough, the top of the to-go containers read Denny's on them. All The Burger Den is are burgers from Denny's masked under this virtual brand.

DoorDash screenshot
DoorDash screenshot
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THE MELTDOWN

No doubt you've seen this one pop up in DoorDash. These sandwich melts look pretty incredible, especially the Hittin' Snooze Melt. That thing is loaded down with several meats, scrambled eggs and some American cheese. A melty breakfast sandwich? I'm always in.

Well guess what, Denny's didn't stop with just The Burger Den, they had to create a SECOND virtual brand and call it The Meltdown. Congrats Denny's, you've definitely done your homework, but you've been outed.

DoorDash screenshot
DoorDash screenshot
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PARDON MY CHEESESTEAK

There aren't many foods that really grab my attention like cheesesteaks do. We had this incredible cheesesteak place we'd go to when we lived in Fort Collins, CO. and I miss it every day. To see a dedicated cheesesteak place pop up on DoorDash here in Amarillo gets me all sorts of giddy.

Until I realize that my cheesesteak will actually be coming to me from IHOP. I didn't even know IHOP offered cheesesteaks, but under their virtual brand Pardon My Cheesesteak, they offer several of them.

DoorDash screenshot
DoorDash screenshot
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IT'S JUST WINGS

You know what's super appealing about this one? It's wings and fries, that's all they do, and they price it EXTREMELY well. It really does appear to be one of the best deals on DoorDash from a pricing standpoint. A lot of food, not a lot of money, and hey, it's wings. How can you go wrong? Amarillo could definitely use some more wings only type of restaurants.

Except for the fact that I can get these wings at Chili's the next time I go in apparently. Funny thing is, I've ordered from It's Just Wings before when I lived in Austin, but never knew where it came from because they don't use Chili's branded containers.

So are these restaurants just trying to dupe you into buying food from them? I mean no disrespect to IHOP and Denny's, but I don't typically order anything from them that isn't breakfast related. I've never been a big fan out their food outside of breakfast.

Virtual brands were created around the COVID pandemic when restaurants weren't really open to the public, but we could order online. Some restaurants felt they could benefit by creating these side hustles in essence by targeting specific audiences that wouldn't typically order certain items from that particular restaurant. It worked, because they got me for sure.

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