Restaurants and customers enter the Metaverse to savor the opportunity |

The metaverse is already providing restaurants with new ways to expand their reach and become more accessible to a new generation of consumers.


Written by Jory Hamilton, Editor of RTN – 04/26/2022

As the world becomes increasingly digital, many industries, including the restaurant industry, are looking for new and innovative ways to stand out. While advances in technology allow food and beverage companies to deploy digital features and services in the real world, some brands are going a step further by venturing into the realm of virtual reality.

The Metaverse, for example, is getting a lot of attention and is about to become very popular. However, this virtual reality scene is only in the beta testing phase. However, even though the Metaverse is still in its infancy, many brands and restaurants have already taken notice and are looking for ways to get their own piece of the Metaverse pie.

However, some food and beverage brands may not yet understand the metaverse and the importance of being in this space when it is simply made up of ones and zeros. This hesitation and uncertainty are understandable because you can’t actually eat or drink. However, there are many ways in which brands can offer unique dining experiences in the metaverse to help them expand their reach to new customers.

Let’s discuss what the metaverse is and how it can relate to the restaurant industry, as well as the ways food and beverage brands operate in the metaverse to expand their reach and become accessible to a new generation of consumers.

Metaverse is a fairly broad term used to describe the different potential worlds that exist in the digital landscape. These digital worlds are essentially a form of virtual reality that users can interact with in the same way they would encounter in the real world.

What’s nice about the metaverse is that while a lot of people go there to escape and maybe play games or live a fantasy life, you can also go there to make purchases with digital currency or NFT. The metaverse can also be used to discover something that exists in the real world but a person does not have easy access to, such as visiting a cave.

In the Burrito Builder experience, customers will approach the counter and place their orders via images of Chipotle’s ingredients. According to a company press release, players will need to drag and drop the correct ingredients into the tortillas at the bottom of the screen before the tortillas reach the end of the line. Finally, players will need to complete a customer order by rotating the burrito using the arrow keys before the burrito timer runs out.

Not only can people visit a winery in the metaverse, but they can also buy digital collectible wine or even buy real bottles of wine with digital currency and then have access to that wine in the real world. Thus, the metaverse opens up a whole new world for food and beverage brands and their customers.

Not only is this a great opportunity for restaurants to expand their reach and digital services, but it also allows them to make a real difference in the lives of people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to certain foods or brands. There are many people, for example, who live in what is called a “food desert” where they do not have easy access to quality foods or branded foods. But with Metaverse, these people can access better and healthier options from the comfort of their own home, such as ordering lunches or taking cooking classes in the Metaverse.

IHOP Bank Logo With Stack
According to a company press release, PanCoin is a crypto pie that lives in the IHOP mobile app and on IHOP.com. Guests who sign up for an account will also get free pies on their birthday, exclusive offers, accumulated rewards, secret menu offers, and the ability to pay with their own devices from the mobile app.

Besides wineries and their place in the metaverse, as mentioned earlier, many other brands are making their way into the metaverse in unique ways. Gary Vaynerchuk and VCR Group, for example, operate the NFT Restaurant slated to open in 2023. The concept is a dinner club that provides customers with access through the use of digital membership codes. These tokens, or NFTs, which can then be purchased in the digital world, can then be used to access the Flyfish restaurant in the real world.

Chipotle is also releasing Burrito Builder on the digital gaming platform Roblox. In this virtual world, players can roll and craft burritos to earn Burrito Bucks. This form of digital currency can then be exchanged in real life for food at Chiptole Restaurant. IHOP is also exploring the metaverse with a new virtual loyalty program.

To revive the idea of ​​a supper club and as a way to bring communities of foodies together, Austin Robbie created something called DAO Dinner. Ruby relied on the logic of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) to combine digital boundaries with the traditional concept of breaking bread together as a community. The concept allows members to join a Dinner DAO branch in their city by purchasing an NFT card. The digital money is then pooled into shared cash, which is used to compensate the member when he pays for a meal at a real restaurant with real money using a Coinbase card.

With much of this still in beta testing, there are no set rules yet for how food and beverage brands interact with customers and create experiences in the metaverse. This means that there are many new avenues and opportunities yet to be explored.

Some opportunities may include:

  • Loyalty programs and promotions: Restaurants can have digital copies of their physical location in the metaverse where customers can enter and sign up for loyalty programs or view their promotions.
  • Restaurant clubs: Similar to those mentioned above, brands can search for unique dining experiences that can be purchased using digital tokens or NFTs.
  • NFT for collectibles or specialty items: Food and beverage brands may also allow users to purchase one-of-a-kind digital collectibles, or may offer NFTs that can be redeemed for specialty items or real-time meals.
  • Cooking lessons: Restaurants can offer cooking classes to help people learn how to prepare healthy meals or teach them how to prepare specific meals on their menu.
  • Online orders and reservations: Similar to loyalty programs, restaurants may also have digital spaces in the metaverse where users can enter and place an online order or make a reservation, which then translates into an actual real-world order or reservation.
  • Hits: To give customers an inside look, a food and beverage brand may also offer tours of its facilities, such as tours of wineries or breweries. They can also offer ways for users to make purchases in these digital tours.

Finally, as intriguing as the metaverse is, food and beverage brands would do well to take precautions before pouring their money into these new, yet unexplored digital frontiers. The Metaverse offers many new and exciting growth opportunities for the restaurant industry, but not everything you read in the media is as good as it seems.

All business decisions involve risks, but before you can believe all the hype, brands need to do their research to make sure they don’t take on too much risk. It’s all about balance and finding the best for your business. The tech and metaverse revolution is not expected to slow down, so it’s important to get in on the action while it’s still early days.

However, proceed with caution and make wise choices to avoid unnecessary investment risks. But as long as you are making smart decisions, there is no reason why you can’t step into the metaverse now and create a name for your brand in this new digital world.

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Jory Hamilton Feature Editor for Restaurant Technology News. She has more than 8 years of experience in the restaurant and gastronomy industry and has worked in many well-known establishments over the years. Gorey covers a wide range of topics, but due to her previous industry experience, she is particularly interested in topics related to restaurant productivity, FOH and BOH management, and restaurant technology. To find out more, follow her Twitter and LinkedIn.

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