Some restaurants are looking for new ways to re-engage in a market that has been hit hard by the two-year COVID-19 pandemic.
Restaurants have been on the move a lot in the past couple of years: redefining menus, thinking about new ways to connect with customers, and heading toward a positive future. It was simply impressive.
One approach that is gaining traction is focusing on a new market: the metaverse. Yes, there was a lot of hype surrounding metaverses, aka augmented reality. This presents new opportunities for the restaurant industry.
Talking about the metaverse today is like explaining what the internet was like in the 1970s, few people knew then how technology would intensify and evolve to change the way we communicate and the way we live.
The metaverse is a virtual world that continues to exist and evolve even if you are not present via a virtual reality device. You can go in and out as the world goes on. You can create, buy and sell merchandise.
And you can order and eat virtually in a digital economy. You obviously can’t eat physically in the Metaverse, but there are plenty of other things you can do that you can’t do in the real world.
American restaurant chain Chipotle recently partnered with online platform Roblox for users to create meals that earn credits for real food. When they started inviting people to join their restaurant in the metaverse and collect credits for Chipotle’s next order by receiving special codes, more than 20,000 people were waiting to enter.
McDonald’s recently announced plans to open restaurants in the Metaverse. Wendy’s and Hooters have also made announcements in recent days.
In Canada, Restaurants Canada launched the Metaverse Marketplace for its industry, a partnership of pioneer scouts to revive the food service industry. It will be launched in May. We expect other chains to follow suit in the coming months.
However, it is still not clear how the metaverse will change our lives or how restaurants can almost make money selling food. It may come and go, like many other things in life.
However, the potential intersection between the real food world and the virtual world in the metaverse could help companies look at the market differently. Think about how employees are trained or how chains can try out new menu items. Experiments can be modified in ways that cannot currently be modified.
The metaverse is also another reason why so many people are talking about cryptocurrencies. Many expect the two to rely heavily on each other as they develop. For example, Crypto Baristas aims to bridge the gap between the physical and virtual worlds for coffee lovers. Not only is it bringing coffee lovers together in the metaverse, the project is funding an actual New York City coffee shop called Coffee Bros. , which partners with coffee growers around the world. Everything is done with cryptocurrency.
Most Canadians would not agree with this metaphysical concept. Food is food, and you order it in a restaurant or you cook it yourself. And let’s face it, wearing a VR headset can be both painful and funny.
The online world is different than it was before the pandemic, particularly in the food industry. There’s more business and traffic, so turning some of that traffic into a virtual world isn’t as difficult as it was a couple of years ago.
It’s not expensive for restaurants to join the metaverse, and the possibilities are interesting. If it helps our restaurant industry get back on its feet, then all the power is in their hands.