MrBeast Burger, a new restaurant concept backed by YouTuber and philanthropist Jimmy Donaldson, who goes by the screen name “MrBeast,” opened Feb. 10 in partnership with the Hive restaurant kitchen.
The restaurant concept operates as delivery-only through the MrBeast Burger app or through third-party delivery services like Doordash and GrubHub. It will serve smashburgers, chicken tender sandwiches, grilled cheese, crinkle cut fries and chocolate chip cookies.
Jeff Mease is the founder of One World Enterprises, which includes local food businesses such as Pizza X, Lennies, Bloomington Brewing Company and Hive. Mease said they reached out to MrBeast Burger in order to get the venture, sometimes called a “ghost kitchen,” started.
“It’s an interesting potential evolution of the franchise model,” Mease said.
The MrBeast Burger brand produces content such as a menu, packaging, advertising and an ordering app, Mease said. The restaurant brand itself is completely virtual, but operates inside of the Hive kitchen using their existing infrastructure and employees, Mease said.
“We thought we would take the dive and go and do this because the MrBeast brand is so strong,” Mease said.
According to the MrBeast Burger website, Donaldson opened up a popup physical restaurant in North Carolina giving away free food for one of his YouTube videos in November 2020. From here, MrBeast collaborated with Virtual Dining Concepts, a company specializing in ghost kitchens, in order to create the MrBeast Burger virtual restaurant.
MrBeast Burger is not the first ghost kitchen restaurant in Bloomington, with Trap Mike’s delivery-only concept opening in Bloomington earlier in February. The restaurant was opened by IU students and operates out of One World Enterprise’s “One World Kitchenshare” commissary.
Mike Fox, director of operations at Hive, said partnering with MrBeast Burger is a way for Hive to add an additional income source. The timing is right as this is the slowest time of the year for restaurants in addition to the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fox said.
The food quality for MrBeast Burger products made at Hive will be different from other locations.
MrBeast Burger provides “specs,” or required standards, for ingredients to partner kitchens, Fox said.
“We’ve deviated from that a little bit by sourcing our beef locally,” Fox said. “Their spec is a frozen patty from a national distributor.”
Hive reached out to MrBeast Burger and got the “OK” to use fresh ground beef daily from The Butcher’s Block, a local butcher, Fox said. The demand for their MrBeast Burgers has been double what Hive originally expected in terms of orders, Fox said.
“We’re fortunate to have a partner like The Butchers Block that we can call in the middle of the day to grind more beef,” Fox said.
In addition to using The Butchers Block to provide higher quality beef Hive uses cookie dough made locally by Baked! of Bloomington instead of the standard frozen cookie dough required, Fox said.
“Pizza X is partnered with Baked!, so we bought some cookie dough from them to use,” Fox said.
In addition to MrBeast Burger, Hive also plans to roll out their own burger menu in the coming weeks, Mease said. They will be different from the MrBeast Burger concept which includes several different styles of burgers named after MrBeast and his friends.
“It’s sort of like a George Motz style Oklahoma fried onion burger,” Fox said.
The Hive burger will consist of fresh locally sourced beef, white onions, american cheese, dill pickles on a potato bun, Fox said.
Hive doesn’t plan on taking away business from local burger places with the introduction of MrBeast Burger, Mease said.
“We think that young consumers will shift away from national chains, not the Trojan Horse or Buffalouie’s,” Mease said. “We hope to pull those customers a bit more into the local scene.”